Roundtable on “Education and Soft Power”

India
Foundation’s Center for Soft Power, in collaboration with DAV group of schools,
hosted a roundtable discussion on the topic of “Education and Soft Power.” The
discussion featured two esteemed scholars – Prof. Gulab Mir Rahmany, Associate
Professor of Political Sociology from Afghanistan and Prof. Dilafruz
Nasirkhodjaeva, Senior Researcher of Economics and Market Economics from Uzbekistan.
The roundtable was attended by a number of respected academicians and
researchers.

Prof. Rahmany spoke of the historical relationship between Afghanistan an India, which extended beyond a millennium. He spoke of how India has played an integral role in promoting higher education in the country, so much so that there are now even ministers within the Afghan government who completed their PHDs in India. He even noted that India’s current Minister of Textile, Smriti Irani, was a household name in Afghanistan due to her role Tulsi, in the soap opera   

“In the period between 2014 to 2019, over 1400 Afghan students have graduated from Indian universities.” said Prof. Rahmany

Prof. Nasirkhodjaeva
spoke on how India was the first country to establish an embassy in Uzbekistan,
and how Bollywood played an integral part in making Indian culture something
that is known in every household in Uzbekistan. She described how there even
existed a channel dedicated to showing nothing other than episodes of the
Mahbharata on a loop. She spoke of the impact that the Sikh population in
Uzbekistan has had, noting that they have been as essential element in bringing
Indian culture, and also trade, to Uzbekistan.

“There are even children today who are being named Shah Rukh and Salman because of Bollywood.” noted Prof. Nasirkhodjaeva