AF Delhi celebrates its 60th Anniversary
The Alliance Française de Delhi is sixty years young! The occasion was an ideal opportunity for a walk down memory lane as AF Delhi reminisced about the numerous successes it has had in the teaching of the French language. It was also an occasion for the organisation to show its appreciation to all those who have contributed to its development. The organisation remains committed to the strengthening of Indo-French cultural relations.
In its early stages in 1952, the Alliance in Delhi was a small association of Francophile friends who got together to form the ‘Club Français’ (French Club). It was on 30th June 1956 that the Club, by then known as Cercle (Circle), was officially registered as Alliance Française de Delhi. The fledgling Alliance offered a few evening classes, had a small library and organized a few events for a limited public. After hopping from one place to another mainly in South Extension for nearly 15 years, the Alliance finally moved into the idyllic surroundings of Lodi Garden in 2004 on land generously granted by the Indian authorities. Here a team of Indo-French architects built an eco-friendly and innovative building. The Alliance in Delhi promotes local biodiversity through its botanical garden created in 2013.
Following its success and reputation, AF Delhi had to expand in order to keep up with the demand. Thus, on 6th January 2009, an Annex of the Alliance Française was inaugurated at Gurgaon (with 554 student registrations in 2015). This Center attracts mainly young professionals from the nearby dynamic companies. It has successfully established partnerships with big companies such as Michelin Tyres, GE Capital, and Aircel, as also with the British High Commission.
All the events of 2016 were projected as being part of the 60th anniversary celebrations of AF Delhi but a series of events were specially organised from November 24 to November 26 to celebrate the occasion. The first day was marked by Kal Aaj Kal – a round table on Indo-French cooperation. The participants were Catherine Clément (philosopher, novelist, journalist), Bernard Faivre d’Arcier (a Civil Administrator who has directed the Festival d’Avignon for over 15 years), Aruna Vasudev (Founder-Director of CINEFAN, Founder-Editor and publisher of Cinemaya and Founder-President of NETPAC), Balveer Arora (specialist in Indian political institutions and federal politics) and S.K. Misra (currently Vice-Chairman Emeritus of International National Trusts Organisation, Chairman of the Indian Trust for Rural Heritage and Development and Member of the Governing Body of AF Delhi). The Mediator for the event was the Indian filmmaker Vijay Singh.
The day also saw the inauguration of the photography exhibition Photography as Process. The exhibition invokes the birth of the analogue visual form almost 200 years ago, through a process-oriented exhibit, featuring the works of 4 contemporary artists from India – Uzma Mohsin, Srinivas Kuruganti, Sukanya Ghosh and Edson Dias. They explore and respond to the analogue as a practice as well as a thought-process, one that reached its zenith in modern photography in the 20th century, and which was eclipsed for the better part by digital media in the early 21st century. The exhibition will be on display from November 25 to December 13, 2016.
On the second day, audiences were enthralled by the Indian classical Music Concert of the Sarod Virtuoso Ustad Amjad Ali Khan. Ustad Amjad Ali Khan is a noted sarod player and one of the foremost classical musicians. He belongs to the illustrious Bangash lineage rooted in the Senia Bangash School of music and is the sixth generation sarod player in his family. Ustad Amjad Ali Khan is the recipient of many awards and honours. These include the Padmashree (1975), Sangeet Natak Academy Award (1989), the Tansen Award (1989) the Padma Bhushan (1991) and the International Music Forum Award, UNESCO in 1970. He has won numerous accolades including a Grammy nomination, the Crystal Award by the World Economic Forum and has performed at venues around the world like the Carnegie Hall and the Royal Albert Hall.
The final day was jam-packed with events – the inauguration of the Video Games Space at the Mediatheque of AF Delhi, a Video Games Competition, the staging of the play “L’avare de Moliere” at M.L. Bhartia Auditorium, an Alumni Meeting, a concert by the French DJ Jean du Voyage and finally a DJ Night with Jean du Voyage and DJ Roli. While Jean du Voyage is an award winner travelling DJ who picks up sounds from all around the world and mixes them on turntables, DJ Roli is one the most versatile DJs in Delhi with a strong french connection – he was one of the first to introduce and organize Indian nights in Paris.
Rédaction, AF Magazine Inde-Népal