I am no expert in bilateral relationships between India and France. But after living in Paris for the past nine months, I know a few things. They aren't many Indians out here. Of late, you see a lot more Indians here than before. Their purpose of visit is as a result of the offshoring related to Information Technology. France do want to make the influx as easy as possible. This is evident from their intention for opening a consulate in Bengaluru. Having said it, I am not aware if this consulate is operational as of now. Considering all these, it is indeed commendable on the French authorities to organize an exhibition to raise awareness of India in it's citizens.
The exhibition titled "Paris-India" is hosted on the 6th floor of Center Pompidou. This is a paid exhibition; being there on the first Sunday of the month which is supposed to be free entrance for all do not exempt you from the entrance fees. At the entrance, you are greeted with a wall exhibit of Indian flag embedded on a French flag.
The first exhibit is created using computer parts indicating the wastage from the modern technological development which flows into India.
Then, you walk into a circular room. Inside the circular room, there is another circular wall constructed which encloses a woman with a nose ring. On all the walls, there are many pictures and televisions running programs showcasing the modern India. One section of the wall depicts photographs from the major events in India right from 1947 to 2011. This is a very informative piece for anyone who doesn't know a thing about India. The posters indicating economic growth, various political parties and challenges like domestic violence adorn different sections.
There are many noteworthy exhibits. A motorbike resembling a bull, a village in LOC indicated with bullet holes created on black paper and a garland made of shaving blades to indicate Rajiv Gandhi assassination are the ones which caught my attention.
The most touching exhibits were a recreation of India's slum and the room filled with stainless steel utensils. The former highlights the economic divide clearly. It also shows how we as a country move forward with these differences. The latter evokes memories of Tiffin carriers we carried to schools.
There was a Bollywood section too. Clips from movies like Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham, Swades were being displayed. It was fun to see French attentively watching Kajol's histrionics.
There was two big rooms dedicated to homosexuality and also for hijras. Personally, I thought the space dedicated was huge for such issues which are not even treated in a big way in India. Neither do the majority of Indians have tolerance nor are aware of these issues. Then, why this should be given such a huge floor space?
Overall, this is a positive step by the French authorities to build relationship with India. In order to build relationship, the first step is to let everyone know about India, it's heritage and it's culture.