NEW DELHI: Cultural ties between India and Greece go back to 4th century BC. Megasthenes —Greek ambassador in the court of Mauryan emperor Chandragupta — historian, and diplomat, wrote ‘Indika’ which became the first authentic source of Indo-Greek relations.
Indo-Greek Bactria that was right on the edge where India came upon other civilizations and the two civilizations were connected and in touch even two centuries prior to the arrival of Alexander the Great in Asia.
Dimitrios Galanos (1760-1833), a Greek Indologist of repute, spent 47 years in India, studied Sanskrit in Varanasi, translated Sanskrit texts into Greek, compiled a Sanskrit-English-Greek dictionary, and spread the philosophical and religious ideas of India to Europe.
In his honor, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, has Dimitrios Galanos Chair for Hellenic Studies. India has two Greek centres in Kolkata and Varanasi, while Athens hosts Yoga institute, Indian dance center, Bollywood Dance & Academy, Brahma Kumaris Centre, Sahaja Yoga Center, and Art of Living Centre.
For promoting cultural ties, the Indian Council for Cultural Relations, offers scholarship to Greek students to study in India.
Renowned Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore, during his visit to Athens in 1926, had said, “We, the younger generations of both Greeks and Indians must always strive to live up to the level of our glorious past. But it is not enough to reflect only on our past.
We must walk in modern reality. We must contribute to the promotion of the culture of our countries and make this culture a lasting value.”
Greece and India embody the rich heritage of ancestral IndoEuropean origins. A Cultural Agreement guides their cultural and educational relations. Greek language, history and philosophy are taught at Indian universities.
Aspects of Indian history and culture are taught in Greek academics. Greek culture and Indian culture with their rich heritages provide a stronger cultural context to the emerging relationship.