Friday, June 26, 2009

You are for me a man of the Franco-Indian renaissance

Ishâni (catherine) MUKHERJEE requests the pleasure of your company at the award ceremony of the insignia of the CHEVALIER DANS L’ORDRE DES ARTS ET DES LETTRES
in presence of Sm Bhaswati Mukherjee, Ambassador of India at unesco,
Jacques Attali, Bikas sanyal & gérard pedraglio
The ceremony will take place at 6.00 p.m. on 24 june 2009 at the salle indira Gandhi, Maison de l’inde 7 boulevard jourdan, 75014 paris

from Prithwin Mukherjee to "Tusar N. Mohapatra" date 26 Jun 2009 20:13 subject hello! Bhâi Tusar,

I had chosen the 24th June for the ceremony of my award, paying thus tribute the centenary of my father Tejendranath's birth.
The President of the event had to be out of station on official mission and had come home to explain to me the situation and to give a DVD recording of his message for the audience. I am reproducing an English translation.
Warm regards.

JACQUES ATTALI (DVD message) Homage.
Well, dear Prithwin, it is really with a great sorrow that I am not among you today, but this is the occasion for me to tell you in a lasting manner – since this DVD will remain – my gratitude for the help you have been to me, in pondering with me on Indian history and by allowing me to understand it and, to tell you as well how much it was for me an occasion to discover the extraordinary person you are.

You are for me a man of the Franco-Indian renaissance. Renaissance because, in the sense of men of the Renaissance, you have an exceptional culture, in literature, in philosophy and of course in music, not only pertaining to the French world, not only to the Indian world, but to the totality of universal culture and you can build such bridges that few people are capable of.

And also the Franco-Indian Renaissance because you incarnate this renewal of relations so necessary between France and India, which are not restricted only to relationship of economics, but which will be increasingly relationship of cultural exchanges, of reciprocal fertilisation, of common fecundation to search into the sources of our music, into the sources of our philosophy, into the sources of our politics, into the sources of our revolutions – wherein you family and your grand-father constitute one of the essential axes of history -, a seed for a better future in which India and France will be the essential actors.
Thanks for everything.
Jacques ATTALI

The Ceremony
It all began on the 24th evening with a DVD message from the President of the ceremony, Dr Jacques Attali, who had to leave on mission and who had come home to give me a recorded tribute for the public. There were about 200 guests, according to the Indian Caterer-in-Charge. As soon as the French text is translated, I shall send you a copy (unless you want the original). Eminent succeeding speakers were: Swami Veetamohananda (President of The Vedanta Centre in France), H.E. Ranjan Mathai (India's Ambassador), Henri Dutilleux (Senior-most Western composer, running 94), Professor Pierre-Sylvain Filliozat (French Academy), Dr Bikas Sanyal (Director of the Maison de l'Inde) and Gérard Pédraglio (representing the Government).

Tribute to the centenary

After bestowing on me the award, GP gave me the microphone; my speech lasted about 20 minutes. It was followed by a song I composed in French for the occasion and beautifully interpreted by Florian Westphal (a well-known opera singer), an item of African drums by my assistant (a professor of music) and, and my patriotic song in Hindi, mâ tujhé bulâtî hain, was interpreted by Bittoo, a young Punjabi singer, with my own orchestration on the computer. It was followed by a grand-scale Indian buffet. Above all, the wakeful and devoted omnipresence of Shrimati Priti Sanyal, Attachée Culturelle of the Maison de l'Inde, added more than an official touch to the preparation and elaboration of the ceremony. Thanks for such a rare gift. My wife offered me the Golden Book with messages from Pandit Ravi Shankar and other personalities. Togo intends to bring it out as a book; in that case, you will receive a copy, of course.

A message from Shri Deepak Mathur, retired engineer in Dassault aviation :
Dear Prithwindra, Again CONGRATULATIONS on this well deserved honour which was bestowed upon you yesterday. It was a pleasure to be a witness to this event and hear your well delivered speech full of emotions and experiences of your life. You have accomplished a journey which has revealed to you so many facets of this worldly existence. The different episodes of your life related during the ceremony by your admirers highlighted your determined efforts to contribute something useful to the benefit of mankind.

If I may say so, you excel in painting the picture with your beautiful command over the languages! Your work should still go on in the field of literature, art and music. On the musical side we have had several occasions to seek your precious advice. I will end now with warm regards to you, Ishani and your family. Deepak.

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