On 24 May, The Faculty of Oriental Studies was pleased and honoured to welcome the High Commissioner of India to the UK, His Excellency Mr Y.K. Sinha, on the occasion of his first official visit to Oxford. The Government of India generously supports one of the Faculty’s key posts, the Professorship of Indian History and Culture, currently held by Professor Polly O’Hanlon.
The day’s activities, organised by Mary-Louise Aitken, included a guided visit through the Indian collections of the Ashmolean Museum conducted by Dr Mallica Kumbera Landrus, Keeper of Asian Art at the Museum, an al fresco lunch with Professor O’Hanlon and colleagues at the Ashmolean Rooftop Restaurant, a special viewing of some of the Bodleian Library’s Indian manuscript treasures, presented by Drs Gillian Evison and Camillo Formigatti, and a visit to the Oriental Institute. There, entertainment was provided by several students who presented short skits and readings in Hindi.
Following this, the Chair of the Faculty Board of Oriental Studies, Professor Mark Smith, gave a short speech welcoming the High Commissioner to the Oriental Institute and expressing the Faculty’s thanks for the support it receives for the Chair of Indian History and Culture. The High Commissioner was then invited to address those gathered. He stressed the importance of the study of India for the present-day world and expressed the hope that it would continue to flourish at Oxford. Tea and cakes were served, and the High Commissioner had an opportunity to meet and talk informally with students and Faculty members who are learning or teaching about India.
We are very grateful to the High Commissioner for taking the time to visit us and hope that he will find the opportunity to visit again on another occasion.
A few images from the event are shown below: