New York, NY
The Consulate General of India in New York, in collaboration with Shanti Fund, hosted a special event, ‘India Calling’ at the Walt Whitman Museum in Huntington, New York. Homage was paid to renowned American poet, essayist, and thinker Walt Whitman, who had a deep spiritual connection with India.
The ‘India Calling’ exhibit housed at the Walt Whitman Birthplace Museum in Long Island, delves into Whitman’s ties to ancient Indian philosophy. Walt Whitman’s literary style was a fusion of transcendentalism and realism, and among his notable works is the epic poem “A Passage to India,” which is 2,300 words long and spans seven pages. In it, Whitman weaves his romanticized visions of India with modern marvels like the transcontinental railway in the US and the Suez Canal.
Addressing the gathering, Consul General of India in New York Randhir Jaiswal, spoke about Walt Whitman’s life, enduring influence, and his deep-rooted interest in India. He also dwelt on the deep historic and philosophical and spiritual connect between India and the US.
Among the speakers at the event were Rakesh Kaul, Vice-Chair of the Indo-American Arts Council Rakesh Kaul, who dwelt on Whitman’s literary legacy and his affinity for India. Cynthia Shor, executive director of the Walt Whitman Birthplace Association (WWBA), extended a warm welcome and provided information on the activities of the WWBA. Jo-Ann Raia conveyed greetings on behalf of the Board of Trustees of WWBA. Arvind Vora of Shanti Fund described the significance of the event and expressed gratitude on behalf of the organization, for bringing forth the connection between Walt Whitman, India, and the rich tapestry of shared ideals and inspirations.
The Consulate tweeted about the event which it said, “celebrated the interwoven civilizational & knowledge ties that bring India & US closer. Walt Whitman’s myriad connections to ancient Indian thought were explored with the larger idea to get the Indian-American community to take pride in their shared legacy.”