The Hungarian Information and Cultural Centre, founded in 1978 and working continuously for the last 30 years, is located on ‘Janpath’, one of the posh localities of the capital. The building of the Hungarian Centre, also known as Baikunth, contemporary and of the same style as the other major public buildings, is one of the most attractive mansions of the capital. This advantageous location has always given a kind of prestige to our Centre.
The cultural relations between India and Hungary are, however, dated back to a much longer time than just a quarter of a century since the establishment of this Centre. Famous Hungarian travellers, scholars and explorers have reached India as early as in the 18th century. János Honigberger, who had come from Transylvania, was the court doctor of the famous Maharaja Ranjit Singh. It was Alexander Csoma de Kőrös who made the ever first Tibetan-English dictionary in India, and during the centuries, also a good number of Hungarian artists came to get inspiration from this country. Indians do appreciate their Hungarian born countrymen. Paintings by Amrita Sher Gil, the outstanding 20th century artist, born to a Hungarian mother and an Indian father in Budapest, are among the greatest art treasures of India today. Indians also remember that the legendary poet Rabindranath Tagore was treated in Hungary for his cardiac ailment, and that he used to recall the memories of his visit to Hungary with much fondness and gratitude
Delhi’s audience has a daily choice of world-class cultural programmes. The Hungarian Centre competes successfully with the cultural repertoire of such countries like Germany, Great-Britain, Japan, France or Russia.
It is quite commendable that due to our Centre’s efforts and activities the works by some of the most significant Hungarian artists – who are recipients of the prestigious Kossuth and Munkácsy prize – could be exhibited in Delhi. Paintings by Tamás Konok, El Kazovszkij, Márton Barabás, Eszter Balás, Ildikó Várnagy, Péter Márkus, Ildikó Bakos, Gábor Gyárfás, Róbert Swierkiewicz, Ádám Würtz were more than admired and appreciated by the Indian art lovers. After many decades of pause we could manage to organize a church organ concert in Delhi. Performances and recitals were given by today’s world class Hungarian soloists and orchestras like the Liszt Ferenc Chamber Orchestra, the Hungarian Virtuozi Chamber Orchestra, pianists Ádám Fellegi, Károly Mocsári, Ernő Fehér, the Auer String Quartet, the Hungarian Festival Quartet, the Quintessence Medieval Music Ensemble, the Bihari János Folk Ensemble, the Rajkó Ensemble, Makám Ensemble, Samsara (an ensemble playing Indian fusion music), Jazz Timers and Cornelio Tutu Band. Our Centre’s Bartók Music Club, Fábri Film Club and Petőfi Book Club are also well known in Delhi and their programmes are frequently visited by their members.
We organize approximately 150 programmes annually that include events in the Centre’s headquarters as well as in other cultural institutions in the capital and in various regions in India. We had a series of commemorative programmes on the occasion of Attila József’s birth centenary, Béla Bartók’s 125th birth anniversary, Arthur Koestler’s birth centenary, and we pay an homage to Zoltán Kodály on his 125th birth anniversary in 2007. Our Centre’s programme offers have increased remarkably, for example with a lecture series on the contributions of research work in various fields of science by eminent Hungarian scholars. We pay special emphases to cherish the memory of such outstanding Hungarians who lived in India and got inspiration to their creative work in this country. Our Centre’s activities, besides Delhi, take place in 15 other cities of India.
Thanks to our determined PR activities the press coverage of our programmes has increased tremendously and nearly 200 major articles are being published annually about our events. TV channels also feature the Hungarian events regularly.