Indian Consulate and Shanti Fund celebrate contributions of poet, philosopher Walt Whitman

Sections of the audience at the Walt Whitman Birthplace Museum in Huntington, NY, for the special event October 16, 2023. PHOTO: X @IndiainNewYork

The Consulate General of India in New York, in collaboration with Shanti Fund, hosted a special event, ‘India Calling’ on October 16, 2023, at the Walt Whitman Museum in Huntington, New York.

The event paid homage to renowned American poet, essayist, and thinker Walt Whitman, who had a deep spiritual connection with India.

The ‘India Calling’ exhibit housed at the Walt Whitman Birthplace Museum in Long Island, delves into Whitman’s ties to ancient Indian philosophy, a press release from the Indian Consulate, NY, said.

Consul General Randhir Jaiswal speaking at the special Walt Whitman Museum event Oct. 16, 2023. PHOTO X @IndiainNewYork

Walt Whitman’s literary style was a fusion of transcendentalism and realism, and among his notable works is the epic poem “A Passage to India,” which is 2,300 words long and spans seven pages. In it, Whitman weaves his romanticized visions of India with modern marvels like the transcontinental railway in the US and the Suez Canal. He also celebrates India’s unique contributions and its breathtaking landscapes, the press release said.

Artifacts and images at the Walt Whitman birthplace museum in Huntington, NY. PHOTO: X @IndiainNewYork

Among the speakers at the event were Vice-Chair of the Indo-American Arts Council Rakesh Kaul, who dwelt on Whitman’s literary legacy and his affinity for India.

Cynthia Shor, executive director of the Walt Whitman Birthplace Association (WWBA), extended a warm welcome and provided information on the activities  of the WWBA.

Jo-Ann Raia conveyed greetings on behalf of the Board of Trustees of WWBA.

Addressing the gathering, Consul General of India in New York Randhir Jaiswal, spoke about Walt Whitman’s life, enduring influence, and his deep-rooted interest in India. He also dwelt on the deep historic and philosophical and spiritual connects between India and the US.

Arvind Vora of Shanti Fund described the significance of the event and expressed gratitude on behalf of the organization, for bringing forth the connection between Walt Whitman, India, and the rich tapestry of shared ideals and inspirations.

The Consulate tweeted about the event which it said, “celebrated the interwoven civilizational & knowledge ties that bring India & US closer. Walt Whitman’s myriad connections to ancient Indian thought were explored with the larger idea to get the Indian-American community to take pride in their shared legacy.” It extended special thanks to the Town of Huntington and New York State Parks for their collaboration.



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