for ISKCON News on June 21, 2013
Suresh Goel with Stoka Krishna Das and Hrdaya Caitanya Das at the MOSA Gallery in Radhadesh, Belgium.
Impressions of a Vedic Community in Belgium
When Mr. Suresh Goel, Director General of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), is not dealing with United Nation reforms, or international diplomacy work he is also touring the world, promoting Indian culture abroad, and it is the exceptional Indian cultural presence of the Vedic community and castle of Radhadesh, that brought him to the Belgian countryside last week.
Mr. Suresh Goel had been acquainted with Radhadesh resident and Museum of Sacred Art (MOSA) director Mahaprabhu das while in India, and made a promise to come for a visit during the museum’s opening ceremony. However due to work commitments Mr. Suresh Goel was unable to come. Now, one year later, he has kept his promise and made the one and half hour journey from Brussels to finally receive his tour, accompanied by Ms. Soumya, Second Secretary at the Embassy of India to Belgium.
A group photo of Ms Soumya, Ms Singh, Mr Suresh Goel, Hrdaya Caitanya Das, Ravinder Singh and Stoka Krishna Das
MOSA executive manager, Stoka Krsna das, along with Radhadesh Temple President Hrdaya Caitanya das, and Hindu Forum of Belgium (HFB) Vice President Ravinder Singh and wife greeted and accompanied Mr. Suresh Goel throughout the day’s activities. In the MOSA they were met by a cultural presentation; a Bharatnatyam dance and devotional bhajan performed for the gathered guests. Although both the temple president and MOSA manager were present, Mr. Suresh Goel quickly turned into the guide as his vast experience with Indian art and culture made it a natural transition. Mr. Suresh Goel also gave the Bharatnatyam dancer, who is visiting from Lithuania, a chance at applying for a sponsorship program organized by the ICCR.
The Radhadesh Bhajan Band greats the guests at the MOSA.
The tour of the two museums was followed by a tour of the castle, most prominently the castle’s temple room. After the tours Mr. Goel and guests had dinner at the Govinda’s Restaurant where they were treated to a three-course meal created special by a resident chef, Syamandanda das.
Mr. Suresh Goel was impressed by the Radhadesh community; from the art museums, temple Deities and especially the local residents taking up of India’s Vedic culture, displayed outwardly in their dress.
The main focus of the ICCR is to promote Indian diplomacy and to sponsor cultural exchanges between India and other countries.
The dignitaries and their hosts engaged in conversation over a delicious dinner at the Govinda's Restaurant.
“Culture is no longer confined to national boundaries,” said Mr. Suresh Goel. “We want to look at culture as a means of communication in a fast-globalizing community,” he said in an interview in 2010 with the Thai Indian News organization.
His work includes organizing large-scale events across the world and at home in India, including his recent success of the New Delhi Jazz festival, and working with academics and arts abroad to illustrate the new perspectives of India that often go unknown.
Mr. Suresh Goel’s main purpose to visit Belgium was for Europalia; an international art festival that has "Encounters of India" as its yearly theme and Mr. Suresh Goel is the Director General and Special Secretary for the event. Europalia will be inaugurated on Oct. 4th and last for four months throughout the city of Brussels, diving into themes of Indian culture such as “India Tomorrow”, “Bollywood and Beyond”, and “Diaspora” done through artwork showcases, film, dance and other media.