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Italy promotes centuries old soft power connections with India

Eyeing to promote soft power connection Italy recently promoted a book series “Italian Scholars on India” presenting the first two volumes of a five-volume book series

The first volume on “Classical Indology”, edited by Motilal Banarsidass Publishing House, was presented by Dr. Marco Ferrante, Senior Research Fellow at the University of Vienna and the Austrian Academy of Sciences and Prof. Claudio Cicuzza, who joined via videoconference from Mahidol University (Thailand). The conversation was moderated by Prof. Savita Jha from Delhi University at an event at the Italian embassy last week.

The second volume on History, economic and society”, edited by the Publishing House Aditya Prakashan, was introduced by Prof. Tommaso Bobbio (University of Turin) and Prof. Diego Maiorano (University Naples L’Orientale). The panel was moderated by Dr. Yamini Aiyar, President and Chief Executive of the Centre for Policy Research.

The event was introduced by Vincenzo de Luca, Ambassador of Italy in India, and concluded by Professor Raffaele Torella (University La Sapienza in Rome), connected via videoconference.

Ambassador de Luca said, “What I find particularly interesting is the empathy shown by Italian scholars towards India from quite early on. The reason behind that can probably be traced back to the similarities between the Italian Risorgimento and the Indian liberation struggle, and the shared history of fight against foreign dominations.”

The project of a book series on Italian Scholars on India was developed during the pandemic, when the Italian Embassy was looking for new ways to foster the relationship between Italy and India amidst the interruption of in-person meetings and conferences. Against this background, together with Prof. Torella, Chairman of the Italian Association of Sanskrit Studies, the decision was taken to collect the most important studies produced in recent years by Italian scholars on India for the first time.

Apart from the first two volumes “Classical Indology” and “History, Economy and Society”, the series will be completed by volumes on “Art and Archaeology”, “Modern Indian Literature” and the translation into English of the biography of Giuseppe Tucci, one of the most important Indologists of the 20th century.

The aim of the project is to offer the Indian and International audience an overview on the production of Italian scholarship on India and to support the dialogue between the academic communities in Italy and India. The cross-references highlighted in the book series “Italian Scholars on India” are mutually enriching and represent one of the backbones of the bilateral ties between Italy and Indiaand their academic and civil societies.


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