October 2014 \ Diaspora News \ Cover Story—Indians in France
Maison de l’Inde – A home for the Indian students in Paris

“When we arrived in Paris from the USA in 1969, we used to meet the Bengali academic community in a café in Montparnasse area during the week-end. We could speak in our mother tongue and have some cultural moment. What we missed the most were books from our writers. So we decided to form an association and to create a library. In 1980, the Sammilanni India Reading Center was born but didn’t limit its activities to books. It regularly organizes cultural events in cooperation with Maison de l’Inde.” says Mrs Sanyal who is also a writer and poet.

Poetry, dance, music, drama, the program of Durga Puja 2014 was very rich and was followed by a light dinner provided to more than 500 guests. The puja was performed by Swamy Veetamohanandaji Maharaj, President of the Ramakrishna Center of Paris, in front of a huge crowd of students and friends of the India House. “In 1953, I got a scholarship and admission into the Presidency College in Kolkata. The Ramakrishna Mission offered me a free board and lodging in their Students’ Home in exchange of my scholarship money and part-time work at the Mission. It was a starting point for my career in the field of education that I can’t forget, without mentioning the spiritual teaching from the Mission and Swami Vivekananda philosophy.

Swami Vivekananda’s main message to achieve universalism and peaceful coexistence was to use appropriate education and environment from womb to the tomb. He lived for a while in Paris, in the same area than Cité U, the bastion of universalism and intercultural dialogue with respect for different cultures among 6000 residents from 140 countries.

Hence, there was no better place to install the bust of this great philosopher” adds Dr. Sanyal.

The unveiling ceremony took place on September 10, 2014 in front of the Maison de l’Inde where the bust sent by the Government of India was installed.

After the celebrations of Durga Puja, Diwali, Independence Day and the Republic day, the lovers of Indian culture and followers of Swami Vivekananda have another reason to come and visit the Maison de l’Inde.