Contributor: Ayush Surana, participant at the Edinburgh Youth Summit Re-Imagine: India-UK Cultural Relations in the 21st Century
There is certain beauty about the very air of the city of Edinburgh.
When you walk the beautiful cobbled streets, on a clear sunny day with
the castle looming up in the distance, you feel very much a part of
the extraordinary culture of this place.
The first day , talking to Dr. Crispin Bates I realized that there is
a fascinating perspective to the history of the East India Company ,
the freedom struggle in India and its implications in the formation of
the UK ! It was an eye-opener for me to understand how our education
system needs to be revamped so that we incorporate all aspects and
perspectives of our history. History should be objective and not a
The very same day we visited the Scottish Museum, and talked in depth
about the art of curation. The most interesting aspect for me was
pointed out by Dan. Talking about accessibility to an object in a
museum and using it as a metaphor to raise the question about how much
exposure to a culture is too much, and when does this exposure start
becoming a threat to the soul of the culture?
Talking in a broader perspective, in an increasingly connected world,
this question raises a few more valid ones, about the sort of exposure
we are getting as individuals and as a society.
Lunch that day, was cold rolls, something which I definitely didn’t
take a fancy to! But I will always fondly remember the times spent in
making dinner together, where we had a delicious fusion of Indian and
British cuisine. A simple platform called cuisine bringing nations
together! The night of Biryani and the Banofee Pies.
Our visit to National gallery presented another fresh insight into the
Scottish culture and heritage. The fact that an entire section was
dedicated to portraits on Pakistani families settled in Scotland spoke
volumes of the kind of cultural and racial tolerance observed in
Scotland and I found myself respecting this Nation even more!
Discussions over the next days highlighted the need for bringing in a
more holistic approach on educational exchange, need for visa reforms
and greater cultural and sports ties between the two nations.
Being a firm realist, I believe that time takes away a lot of our
memories, and sadly also a lot of our leanings. What we always do have
however are moments. Moments which we cherish and always carry with
Every day being a part of a close knit group of young dynamic minds
from two different parts of the world, discussing issues that really
matter to the world and brainstorming together, going on the
‘scavenger hunt’ and sharing some great laughs in the process, to
watch in delight at the wonderful performances happening all over the
beautiful city, and finally on the last day congratulating each other
on pulling off a great presentation which we built together as a team.
Looking back, I am filled with warmth at sharing such great moments
with a bunch of wonderful people. I am grateful to be a part of such a
project and I believe these moments shall always play a pivotal role
to drive me to always consciously think of the India-UK relationship
and how I can contribute towards reimagining our future. As my dear
friend Owen rightly said at the end of our presentation
“Sometimes you cannot do everything but you can do something”
Cheers to a great new future.
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