The culture of India


Indian culture is understood and highly respected in Kazakhstan. The knowledge about India and its culture is disseminated here primarily through Indian films, which are extremely popular locally. To promote Indian culture and in order to strengthen the long-standing cultural relations between the two countries, an Indian Cultural Centre (ICC) has been opened in Almaty in May �94. The ICC has been organising several programmes for the promotion and strengthening of Indo-Kazakh cultural ties. It has been organising exchange of visits, quiz programmes, essay competitions, cultural evenings, talks, exhibitions and other programmes for achieving these ends. New programmes which have been started include regular film shows, Hindi language classes, Indian dance classes, cooking demonstrations etc.

An Indian Studies Centre was set up in the Al-Farabi University in Almaty in September 1998. A Centre for Indian Studies was inaugurated at the Kazakh State Ablai Khan University for International Relations and World Languages on 25th November, 1999.

Every year scholarship is offered by ICC to nineteen meritorious students in Kazakhstan on the recommendation of the Ministry of Education and Science for attending various courses in the Indian Universities.

The Cultural Exchange Programme for 1992-94, subsequently extended till 1995, was signed during the state visit of President Nazarbaev. A new Cultural Exchange Agreement is under negotiation.

Kazakhstan celebrated Mahatma Gandhi�s 125th birth anniversary by publishing two commemorative stamps on 2nd October �95 to mark this occasion. This is for the first time Kazakhstan issued a postage stamp dedicated to a leader outside Kazakhstan. The press also carried important articles on the life and teachings of the Mahatma.

India celebrated the 150th Birth Anniversary of the famous Kazakh poet and philosopher, Abai, in December 1995 with the publication of Abai�s compositions in Hindi. India issued a postage stamp on Abai on this occasion.

A seven-member delegation from Kazakhstan visited Srinagar to pay a visit to the tomb of Mirza Mohammed Haidar Dulati in June 1999 on the occasion of 500th Birth anniversary of Mirza Dulati. They have also organised seminars in Srinagar, Delhi and Jawaharlal Nehru University and met Chief Minister and Government of J&K.

Indian Community

Indian community in Kazakhstan is approximately 1000, including about 650 students mostly studying medicine, 200 or so businessmen and bank executives with their family members (this number is steadily increasing), and some 100 labourers working with an Italian Construction Company. With the taking over sof the Karaganda Steel Complex by Ispat International in Nov �95, there are also 35 Indian nationals in top managerial positions of the company.

Swiss cantons much less desperate for money in 2000

By Alessandro RAIMONDI


The improvement of the Swiss federal deficit announced on these colums one week ago, derives from the summa of better looking budgets envisaged for 2000 by the various cantons of the Confederation.

A number of factors contributes to an overall cantonal deficit lowered of some 569,000,000 SF compared to the 1999 data, even if the final figure remains a red one: - 924 million Swiss Francs, � of which are �credited� to Canton Geneva and Canton Vaud.

Already last year the trend had improved so that those worrying red numbers looked paler, the 2000 deficit is therefore to be considered a confirmation of an improved economic situation benefitting Switzerland as a whole. This reduced deficit corresponds to a mostly sounding 38%!

A sharp decline of the unemployment rate let concerned cantons avoid paying due sums to the federal unemployment fund, vigorously contributing to decrease the level of expenditures. To be considered in the positive trend just depicted for this year, is the fact that cantons are to be receiving back money not used by the unemployment fund, and get some 200 extra million SF from the Swiss National Bank that by law is due to distribute its profits to the institutional members of the Confederation, i.e. the various cantons.

Another reason of satisfaction comes from the increased harvest of taxes collected by the few city-cantons of the country due, again, to a much generalized improved economic environment.

Of course, it�s not all gold what shines, in fact 4 cantons are showing worst estimate of expenditure this year than in 1999: Schaffhausen, Schwyz, Basel-Land and Valais. The latter, particularly, drops from a positive 1,000,000 SF in �99 to a negative 12.3 million SF this year.

On the contrary, some 14 cantons have shown better estimate of expenditure than in 1999, while Freiburg, Obwalden and Grisons cantons have confirmed their 1999 trend.

Improvisation of the Image

Yedyge Niyazov and works by German artists


ALMATY, Jan 23


The exhibition presenting two expositions � of the German painters and of the Kazakhstani photo-painter Yedyge Niyazov, is held in the gallery Tengri-Umai.

The exhibition of German painters is called �Distance and Nearness.� The exposition of Yedyge has no name. But after you see all paintings you understand that the name �Distance and Nearness� accurately reflects the essence of both compositions by German creators and the Kazakhstani author. Possibly, due to this the Tengri-Umai director Vladimir Filatov united the exhibitions of Germans and Kazakhs to demonstrate their closeness and distance between them.

Photos make Yedyge close to German artists. And technical photo approaches. For instance, they use very small diaphragm that allows to achieve a high sharpness, though at a price of a long exposure that is characteristic for not only Becher�s creation (e.g. for about 10 sec he put 45 diaphragm) or Thomas Struth (his exposure while taking portraits takes 1 sec), but also for Yedyge Niyazov.

The form of their creations is also similar. For example, the portraits style that is characterized with objectivity. In other words, both Yedyge and German artists have something in common � they are eager to reveal the personality as truly and completely as it is possible. That does not matter what photographer thinks, but the reflection of the objective basis of the human being.

The choice of an object of both Yedyge and German photographers is also similar. They are attracted by architectural photo, but especially by industrial �blocks� that are created by the man in the 20th century and that are an attribute of his life and his activity. They are objective observers who strive for accuracy and wish to find typical features of the subject. All above-mentioned facts make the Kazakhstani artist close to German creators.

But Yedyge differs from others, including Bernd and Hilla Becher, as he has nothing to do with art statistics. His main method is improvisation (this strikes you at once, e.g. his Stone Fantasies). That is what the nature gave Yedyge, as he is Kazakh and was born to be a Kazakh. That cannot be taken away, when he takes a dombra and begins to play. When he impresses the audience improvising the melody consisting of five to six sounds, though he does not know the European notation in music.

This week in the 20th century

January 25, 1959 American Airlines opened the jet age in the United States with the first scheduled transcontinental flight of a Boeing 707.

January 26, 1950 India officially proclaimed itself a republic as Rajendra Prasad took the oath of office as president.

January 26, 1942 the first American expeditionary force to go to Europe during World War Two went ashore in Northern Ireland.

January 26, 1962 the United States launched �Ranger Three� to land scientific instruments on the moon - but the probe missed its target by some 22,000 miles.

January 27, 1951 an era of atomic testing in the Nevada desert began as an Air Force plane dropped a one-kiloton bomb on Frenchman Flats.

January 27, 1967 astronauts Virgil I. �Gus� Grissom, Edward H. White and Roger B. Chaffee died in a flash fire during a test aboard their �Apollo One� spacecraft at Cape Kennedy, Florida.

January 27, 1967 more than 60 nations signed a treaty banning the orbiting of nuclear weapons.

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