I watched with dismay how many people launched a social media campaign against an event organised at ‘Little India’ in Manama Suq, in celebration of 50 years of diplomatic relations between Bahrain and India.
Regrettably, these irresponsible voices have once again used religion to try and gain sympathy and entice other less well informed people in getting to move the event out of the Suq or have it cancelled altogether, saying it is being held adjacent to a mosque.
What these sad souls do not know is that the land adjacent to the mosque was originally the house of a top Indian merchant and after it was demolished, the Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities (Baca) acquired it.
In organising the present event, Baca made sure all activities are held between the Maghrib and Isha prayers and, in any case, the stage at the venue was set up on to deliver the opening speeches by dignitaries.
However, some of our MPs, rather than try solving other pressing issues for citizens, thought it proper to launch this tirade against the Indian community, which has contributed towards and left an appreciable impression on every field.
This is clearly a crisis of confidence that has been brought about by these people at a time we should be rejoicing at the contributions and success of Bahrain’s most-loved expatriate community and thanking them for all the efforts over the decades.
There is no doubt that the Bahraini-Indian relations are a distinguished model for fruitful and constructive co-operation and provide many rich investment and economic opportunities. We are in dire need of getting close to nations and marketing Bahrain because of its strategic location, infrastructure and professional human cadres. India plays a pivotal role on the global stage and ranks among the world’s most economically and technologically advanced nations.
Since ancient times, Bahrain has respected the presence of foreign communities and provides them the necessary space to practise their customs, traditions and beliefs freely.
I personally owe India a lot, having studied at one of its most prestigious universities along with countless other Bahraini students. We lived our best lives in India in spite of the often difficult conditions and, after completing our studies, many of us assumed leadership positions in ministries and the private sector.
I cannot but express my sincere thanks, praise and gratitude for the strenuous, unremitting and capable efforts of the Baca, headed by Shaikha Mai bint Mohammed Al Khalifa, to advance Bahrain’s cultural movement.
Her Excellency said Manama is a city of coexistence and encourages a meeting of cultures, emphasising it brings us together to celebrate our common heritage and history.