Kolkata, Feb 6 : "Tagore was more than a Cultural Ambassador to us," observed Ambassador of Argentina to India Daniel Chuburu during his visit to international Kolkata Book Fair.
After inaugurating the Latin American pavilion, he expressed his thoughts on bilateral relationship and passion for Kolkata in an exclusive interview.
Q. How will you describe Argentina's Kolkata connection?
Ambassador: We opened our first office in India here in Kolkata in the 1920s. Our first Consulate was established here then. We celebrated the 70th anniversary of our diplomatic relationship with India. But we have been in Kolkata for more than 120 years.
Not only that, culturally the presence of Tagore was important in Argentina and the relationship he had with Victoria Ocampo in 1930s and 1940s was very strong. We are very proud of the relationship we have.
Q. You are fond of Tagore's literature?
Ambassador: I am very fond. He is one of the important visionaries who has constructed a good relationship we have with India. For us, he was more than a Cultural Ambassador.
At the same time, Victoria Ocampo was also a promoter of the independence of Bangladesh. I think we always have been linked with the history of this country.
Q. Here is Indo-Hispanic Language Academy at Kolkata Book Fair. What is 'Hispanic'?
Ambassador: Indo-Hispanic Language Academy is the main language academy for Spanish. Spanish also is the language of Latin America. This academy is trying to make a promotion of the Spanish language. I want to mention Dibyajyoti Mukhopadhyay as he became a very good friend of ours. We are proud to have him as our cultural representative and culture point of reference in Kolkata. I firmly believe that Kolkata is
the cultural capital of India. So, this academy is an important one.
Q. Any publisher interested to translate a Spanish language book, whom they have to connect?
Ambassador: If any translator wants to do that job they have to contact us in the Embassy (depending on the book from which country he or she wants to translate) in Delhi. We do have a program in Argentina called 'Programa SUR', that is the one promoting the translation of books from Argentina to any regional languages like Bengali. They are
working with Hindi and other regional languages also and we already have 10 translated books through this program. So I like to invite translators from India through you that, if you want to translate any Argentine book then please connect our Cultural Attaché and
he must provide more details about further proceedings.
Q. Who are the most important contemporary Argentine authors whose works you think should be translated globally?
Ambassador: We did a presentation here in Kolkata Book Fair with one of the very recent books translated to Bengali that is of Juan Scar called 'Cueta Rabioso'. I think that one is a very good exponent of our culture. Besides our traditional writers, we also have some young writers but unfortunately, most of them are not into English so
it's very difficult for the people of this region to ask those books. So, if anyone shows interest to translate those, we will do our best.
Q. Kolkata people always adore Argentine films as we also got to see films from Argentina at the Kolkata Film Festival. Are there any Indian film lovers in Argentina?
Ambassador: We receive fewer films than you are receiving in this case from us. This is not due to any particular thing but due to some commercial aspects that move the World Cinema. Like you are having Argentine films in festivals, we also have the Indian films in festivals. But we want to work closely with Bollywood, Tollywood and the film
industry of the southern part of India. We are trying to do that to work in a cooperating manner. So, there are lots of stones unturned between the film industries of India and Argentina. Though we are not the size of Bollywood or Tollywood, we are very small
but producers of high-quality films. We have films acclaimed in various international festivals and in Oscar.
Q. We have a very commendable bilateral relationship between India and Argentina. Do you have any incentive plans for Indian filmmakers want to shoot in Argentina?
Ambassador: That's one of the main things that I have been working for the last two years and I keep on working every single day. I believe that having possibilities of Indian filmmakers and producers filming even a song for a good Bollywood movie or more will be great. Not only for that will open the possibilities for the Indians to know Argentina
more but it will also promote Argentina as a tourism destination for India. We are working with that with the questions of giving some incentives as many countries in Europa are doing now.
Q. Are there still some virgin locations that could've been explored?
Ambassador: There are many. I often say Argentina is almost the size of India. India is the 7th largest country in the World and we are the 8th. There are few square kilometers of difference. But instead of 1.4 billion people, we have 45 million people. Of these 45 million, more than 15 million is living in one city. You can imagine all the territory with very few people that gives the idea of virgin scenario everywhere you go.
Q. Are you aware of this fact that we Indians are very fond of soccer and during FIFA World Cup India divides into two segments that are Argentina and Brazil? I cheer up for La Albiceleste.
Ambassador: I'm very clear in the sense that in Bengal we have more fans than we have in Argentina because of the size of the population. We are aware of the impact of our sports in this region. Big proximity we have with the region. (UNI)