Asia’s First Center for Baltic Culture and and Studies (CBCS) was established in Dev Sanskriti Vishwavidyalaya on 07 August 2016 in the presence of H. E. Mr. Aivars Groza, Ambassador of the Republic of Latvia, H. E. Mr. Laimonas Talat-Kelpsa, Ambassador of the Republic of Lithuania along with, H. E. Mr. Riho Kruuv, Ambassador of the Republic of Estonia, Prof. Ina Druviete, Vice Rector, University of Latvia along with H. E. Mr. Krishna Kant Paul, Governor of Uttarakhand State, H. H. Dr. Pranav Pandya Ji, the Chancellor of DSVV. And since then, it has been thriving to operate at its full pace.
Usindiena is a Latvian Celebration in order to offer reverence to Deity Usinš (A Latvian Mythological Character), the God of Light and spring, the symbol of fertility, the guardian of horses and bees. The festival is celebrated on 23rd April every year to acknowledge the new crop of the summer. There is a significance of the tradition to make donations and offerings on this day for the well being of new summer and new crops.
It was celebrated in DSVV on 23rd April 2018 in the presence of H.E. Mr. Aivars Groza, Ambassador of Latvia and Dr. Mahesh Sharma, Union Minister of State for Culture, Govt. of India.
The celebration was graced by the performances from Choir Jubilate, University of Latvia, Folk Dance Group Saime, Riga and Vocal Group Vilki, Riga.
DSVV proposes to house 2-3 research scholars from all the Baltic countries. DSVV shall provide accommodation, meals and necessary office space to the candidates that are sent after prior approval from the DSVV along with the recommendations of the partner institutions. This is aimed to generate joint learning resources adhering to the underlying objectives of the CBCS. This area of work also includes translation of already done work in the broader areas of mutual interest as well as working on a Hindi-Latvian and Hindi-Lithuanian dictionary (and vice versa).
DSVV shall offer teaching/ research scholarships to those undergraduate/ postgraduate/ doctoral students from Baltic Nations, who wish to contribute their time, skills, and expertise for furthering the work on development of joint learning resources. These scholarships shall be offered through Pt. Shriram Sharma Acharya Research Foundation bearing the same name. The scholarships shall include free accommodation in the University premises (for a maximum of 6 months duration at one time), meals etc. Only those candidates who are recommended by their respective partner institutions and duly approved by DSVV shall be accepted under this scheme. In any given calendar year, not more than 12 such scholarships shall be considered. PhD students: DSVV shall duly consider PhD applications of recommended candidates from its partner institutions, and the same privilege shall be extended to its students
DSVV proposes to consider extending the scope of the collaboration to other areas of study; i.e. Using Teachers/ Scholars from the Baltic Nations to teach Latvian/ Lithuanian/ Estonian to its students as an open elective module and to its Linguistics and Tourism Studies students as one of their generic elective modules. DSVV also invites applications from its partner institutions in other areas such as Animation, Communication, Environmental Sciences, and Psychology etc.
The centre aims to start an online peer reviewed journal titled International Journal of Indo-Baltic Culture and Studies (IJIBCS).
CBCS aims to organize a joint conference at DSVV followed by one in the Baltic nations within the next 3 years. The first such initiative had already taken place when DSVV was given the status of the joint organizer of the International Conference organized by Professor Sigma Ankrava, University of Latvia, in Riga, Latvia between May 28- May 30, 2015
CBCS aims to provide joint short-term, modular and long-term programmes in the areas of mutual interest within 6 months of its commencement. This would also include course development, faculty exchange, non-academic exchange, organizing Yoga/ Ayurveda/ Holistic Health/ Complementary and Alternative Medicine courses, etc
Exchange of faculty members, Exchange of students, Exchange of Administrative Managers/ Coordinators, Exchange of academic materials and other information, Distinct short-term academic programmes, and Joint academic programmes, etc.
Joint research activities and projects, Joint Publications, Joint development of learning resources, etc.
This would allow the general public to understand and witness the commonalities shared by two great civilizations and traditions; i.e. the Indians and the Balts. This may include a peace march, exhibition, essay competition, cultural performances, creating a human chain etc.
India has always had strong ties with the Baltic nations (Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia), and even though the official diplomatic relations were established in 1992 with the opening of the Embassy of Lithuania in New Delhi, India, the first Prime Minister of India, Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru had said the following with regards to the Baltic nations in early 1950s: “North of Poland are the Baltic States of Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, and Finland, all successors of the Tsarist Empire. They are small states, but each is a distinct cultural entity with a separate language. You will be interested to know that the Lithuanians are Aryans (like many others in Europe) and their language bears quite a close resemblance to Sanskrit. This is a remarkable fact, which probably many people in India do not realize, and which brings home to us the bonds of which unite distant people.”
“India and the Baltic Nations share deep cultural and historical bonds” – this idea has also been stated by scholars like Suniti Kumar Chatterji, Baltic writers and poets like Andrejs Pumpurs, Janis Rainis, Fr. Malbergh etc. Now it has become a widely shared feeling among many scholars, academicians, politicians, diplomats and the citizens of both India and the Baltic nations. This provided the necessary impetus for various joint academic activities to take place. In 1996, a separate center for the Indic studies, under the Department of Oriental Studies, was established at Vilnius University, Lithuania under the directorship of Professor A. Beinorius. The University of Latvia, Riga also took a similar initiative and an autonomous center for the Indic Studies was developed there under the directorship of Professor Sigma Ankrava in 2007. In January 2011, the Indian Council of Cultural Relations (ICCR) and Mykolas Romeris University (Vilnius) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in order to establish the first ever Chair of Indian Studies in the Baltic States. The Memorandum came into effect on 1 September 2011.
The aforementioned efforts led to the signing of the MoUs between the Universities in the Baltic nations and some Indian Universities; i.e. Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), Delhi, University of Calcutta, and Dev Sanskriti University (DSVV), Haridwar; whereas, Dev Sanskriti University being the only University to have MoUs with both the University of Latvia and the Vilnius University. In order to enhance their cooperation, DSVV decided to open the first ever Baltic Centre for Culture and Studies (CBCS) in its premises. The CBCS was inaugurated on 07 August 2016 by Honorable Excellency Mr. Aivars Groza, Ambassador of Republic of Latvia, H. E. Mr. Laimonas Talat-Kelpša, Ambassador of Lithuania along with, H. E. Mr. Riho Kruuv, Ambassador of Estonia, Prof Ina Druviete, Vice Rector, University of Latvia, H. E. Mr. Krishna Kant Paul, Governor of Uttarakhand State, and the Hon. Chancellor of DSVV, Dr. Pranav Pandya.
As Asia’s first Baltic Centre, it stands as a hub of cooperation between the Baltic nations of Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, and India through its various areas of work. Administratively, it functions as a subunit of the Pt. Shriram Sharma Research Foundation of DSVV, and aims at
developing International Education and Research activities including Baltic Sea Region studies for exchange as well as visiting students. The centre aims to develop dual degree programmes as well as the necessary cooperation networks through its partner institutions to support its underlying objectives.