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A French Mela

Tuesday — being the International Francophonie Day — saw the launch of a five-day festival in Delhi to celebrate the French language.

Written by Shantanu David | Published: March 22, 2012 3:22 am

Tuesday — being the International Francophonie Day — saw the launch of a five-day festival in Delhi to celebrate the French language. The participants here come from different countries with one thing in common — their language. Jean Philippe Bottin,director,Alliance Francaise de Delhi,which has organised the festival,says,“March 20 is celebrated globally as International Francophonie Day and 16 Alliance Francaise centres across India will join in the Indian leg of celebrations.”

Some of the prominent attractions of the festival include screenings of French language films from Bulgaria,Canada and Switzerland,a painting exhibition by Romanian artists Sanda Butiu and Ileana Dragomirescu,and a concert by soprano Anne Renouprez and pianist Eliane Reyes,both from Belgium. There is also a photo exhibition by Sunil Gupta titled “Sun City and Other Stories”,loosely based on the experimental French film La Jetée (The Jetty in English),featuring still pictures.

The word ‘Francophonie’ was coined in 1880 by French geographer Onésime Reclu to distinguish countries and communities using the French Language. Ninety years later,Francophonie was established as an organisation (formally called International Organisation of the Francophonie) on March 20 in Niamey,France,with an aim to promote the language globally. Interestingly,India,with a significant French population (specially in Puducherry),has been invited to join the organisation.

The pièce de résistance is the day-long “Francophonie Mela”,to be held on March 24 at the Alliance Francaise grounds in Delhi. Bottin says: “The mela will include stalls put up by French-speaking countries to showcase their culture. We will have a cookery class as well as a dance workshop. There will also be a street theatre performance by students from Jawaharlal Nehru University and a dance performance by children from the NGO,TARA.”

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