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June 2002

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 WELCOME

Welcome to Toronto

Divyabh Manchanda

Consul General of India

 

With Krishan Khetarpal and Bala Nair

With Manmohan Singh and Arun Gupta 

 It was in December 2000, at artist, Satish Gujaral’s first seventy-fifth birthday celebration, that Divyabh Manchanda announced his next posting will be as Consul-General in Toronto.

 

And finally in May 2002, he arrived in Toronto to a heart-warming welcome by a large community of Indo-Canadians and Indians.

 

Prior to his arrival in Toronto, Divyabh was serving as the Deputy Director- General in the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), New Delhi, for nearly five years.

 

Divyabh, a Stephenian and an IITian, graduated with BSc (Hons) in Physics from St Stephen’s College, New Delhi in 1973, and did his post graduation in Physics from IIT Delhi.  He did his M. Phil/Pre-Ph.D. in Bio-Physics at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) New Delhi.

 

Divyabh married Gayatri, who had done her Masters in English Literature from Delhi University and subsequently obtained a teacher's training degree.

 

Joining Indian Foreign Service in 1978, he served in different capacities at Indian Missions in Cairo, Abu Dhabi, Sofia, Lisbon and Colombo, before moving to ICCR in New Delhi.

 

At ICCR, he was responsible for the celebrations marking a millennium of the temples of love in Madhya Pradesh's Khajuraho town, leading to renewed interest and the excavation of the largest temple so far, and the ‘Ramayana Around the World’ festival, an 18-month celebration. The event was organised by the Orient Express, the Madhya Pradesh Government and the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR).

 

The final event commenced on December 10, 2000, with Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee inaugurating 'Ramayana Around the World' and culminating in a grand finale on December 16 attended among others by Vice President Krishan Kant.

 

Divyabh said while it is known that the Ramayana had great influence in Indonesia, Myanmar, Cambodia, and Thailand, the organizers found that there were Ramayana troupes even in Singapore (in the form of Chinese ballet) and even Russia where Gennady Pechnikov had been acting as Rama for the last twenty-five years.

 

As Pradeep Anand, a high-tech entrepreneur, an IITian, mentions, Divyabh “looks more like an IITian than a foreign service babu.”

 

“We expect not only the Trade and Technology relations growing with India but also more cultural activities through his diplomacy with his ICCR links”, he adds.

 

Divyabh’s wife Gayatri is an accomplished painter. “Her travels to different parts of the world and an exposure to diverse cultures have left their mark on her, but she relies more on moods to influence the direction of her work”, writes an art critic.

 

They have one son, Arnav, presently a student in India.

 

    (Photos: Bashir Nasir)