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India@75 Seminar at Baalbek on 13 August

Aug 14, 2022

On the occasion of 76 Independence Day of India, Ambassador Dr Suhel Ajaz Khan hosted a reception at Baalbek on 13 August 2022. The reception was attended by members of the Civil Society of this culturally vibrant region. Vice President of Baalbeck municipality Mr. Mostapha Shall, representative of Governor of Baalbeck-Hermel region, Ms. Hiba Zaaiter, heads of various municipalities, members of Baalbeck-Hermel municipality were present during this event.  

Baalbeck is a city steeped in history and home to the remains of one of the largest Roman religious sites. The Temple of Jupiter in Baalbek was the most important pilgrimage site in the Roman Empire. Baalbek is also home to one of the best-preserved temples in the ancient world “Temple of Bacchus”. Even before the Roman times, Baalbek has always been an important city in Phoenician civilization also.   Baalbek is also the home to one of the most revered Islamic sites in Lebanon i.e. shrine of Sayyida Khawla, the daughter of Imam Hussein and great granddaughter of Prophet Muhammad, PBUH. Baalbek is also known for various artists and Literary giants it has produced like Jawadat Haider, Khalil Mutran and others. Jawadat Haider has also written a poem about Mahatma Gandhi which has been recited across the World including at the UN HQ in New York. Ms. Shahina Osserain, daughter of Jawadat Haider also graced the occasion.

The reception was held at the historical Hotel Palmyra which in itself is a great representation of Baalbeck. Just as the Baalbeck temples and architectural ruins stood the test of time, similarly the Palmyra Hotel has never closed its doors for a single day for more than 140 years even during the most turbulent of times and has hosted kings, heads of states and other dignitaries. Ambassador complimented the owner of the Hotel, lawyer Ms. Rima Fawaz Husseini for maintaining the Hotel even during the most difficult of times.

Ambassador Dr Khan, during his speech highlighted the importance of Amrit Mahotsav celebrations. He also highlighted the historic friendly ties between India and Lebanon, stating, “We, in India, have always admired Lebanon’s pluralistic ethos, culture and traditions; democratic polity; and the resilience and versatility of the people. As the time-tested friends of this glorious land of cedars, that gave alphabets to the world, our best wishes are always with our Lebanese friends.” Ambassador also highlighted that the Embassy is working closely with the Lebanese side in broadening and deepening our engagement on cultural, business and other aspects of bilateral relations.

He also praised the Indian Battalion at the UNIFIL which has been there since 1998 and is soon going to enter its Silver Jublee year.  Ambassador said, “Indian Battalion has not only been working with utmost professionalism but also have contributed to the social and economic development of South Lebanon. In return, they have also enjoyed utmost love and respect from all the people in South Lebanon.”

This was first such reception organized at Baalbek and everyone who attended agreed that it will help enhance our engagement with this culturally vibrant region and will continue to strengthen overall India Lebanon relations.

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