The Janadriya Festival, which is the largest cultural event in Saudi Arabia that attracts global and Arab attention, kicked off on Wednesday.
Last year, Egypt was the guest of honor. This year, it’s India. It’s a wise choice as India is an integral part of culture in the Arab Gulf and the Peninsula.
This year marks the 32nd Janadriya Festival which was first sponsored by late King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz. The Jenadriyah Festival has become a major part of the Saudi cultural scene and entertainment sector and a link between the past and the present.
PHOTOS: India guest of honor at this year’s Janadriya festival
The festival highlights heritage and sheds lights on all cultures within the kingdom. It includes a cultural program, hosts Arab and non-Arab figures and organizes debates and lectures.
Relations with the Indian subcontinent, i.e. India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and others, have influenced Arab culture and past trade through the Arabian Peninsula. These religious, economic, social, cultural and artistic ties require countless books to list.
India is an influential player in the modern world. It has a giant economy, is a leader in digital technology and has an influential position in BRICSMashari Althaydi
Our grandparents used to say: “India is yours if you have lost most of your possessions.”
The saying signifies the Indian subcontinent’s rich resources. As we know, India was one of the major British colonies. The East India Company which was established in 1960 resulted in British military and political presence in India and the Arabian Peninsula through the British naval deployment in the Gulf.
Arab traders, from Kuwait, Oman and east and west of the Arabian Peninsula, have had special relations with India through the Zainal family whose patriarch founded Al-Fallah schools in Mecca and who was a famous pearl trader with solid commercial ties with India.
Mumbai was a social, scientific and commercial center for the rich people of Najd as well as for Kuwaitis, Bahrainis and Emiratis. India is an influential player in the modern world. It has a giant economy and it is a leader in digital technology. This is in addition to its influential position in BRICS.
It was a wise decision to host India as a guest in the Janadriya Festival. Perhaps it will be a chance to examine the past and present in favor of interests between Arabs and Indians.
This article was first published in Arabic.
Saudi journalist Mashari Althaydi presents Al Arabiya News Channel’s “views on the news” daily show “Maraya.” He has previously held the position of a managing senior editor for Saudi Arabia & Gulf region at pan-Arab newspaper Asharq al-Awsat. Althaydi has published several papers on political Islam and social history of Saudi Arabia. He appears as a guest on several radio and television programs to discuss the ideologies of extremist groups and terrorists. He tweets under @MAlthaydy.