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Croatian - Indian Links, monograph marking 30 years of diplomatic relations 1992-2022
By Nenad N. Bach and Darko Žubrinić | Published  10/29/2022 | Science , People , History , Education , Culture And Arts , Companies , Business , Religion | Unrated
Publication of the book suggested by H. E. Mr. Raj Kumar Srivastava, ambassador of India to Croatia

Nenad Bach reading the book Croatian - Indian Links, published in Zagreb in 2022,
upon the initiative of H. E. Mr. Raj Kumar Srivastava, the ambassador of India to Croatia.

At a time of rapid economic growth in India, thus increasing modern India's international political importance, we hold it necessary to draw attention to the richness and significance of the ties between Croatia and India. In initial project discussions, Ambassador H. E. Raj Kumar Srivastava discerningly noted that, during his work in Croatia, he had heard a great deal about the ties between Croatia and India - especially about the great interest Croats have shown in India - but that all this information was scattered throughout many older, often inaccessible publications, or had only been retold anecdotally. He thus suggested we systematically and clearly present all of this material in one unified publication, an idea we wholeheartedly accepted. This would create a reference book on Croats who dealt with India in various ways and contributed to ties between India and Croatia.

The publisher of the book, the Croatian-Indian Society, has already distinguished itself by organizing numerous activities aimed at bringing India and Croatia closer together. The Croatian-Indian Society recently published Naš Gandhi (En. "Our Gandhi", Zagreb: Hrvatsko-indijsko društvo, 2021) which contains a reprint of a translation of Romain Rolland's 1924 book on Gandhi and an extensive introductory essay on Stjepan Radić and Gandhi written by Mislav Ježić, followed by an epilogue by Joginder Singh Nijjar and Darko Žubrinić.

Source: an excerpt from an introductory article by Professor Ivan Andrijanić, on pp. IX and X.

The publication Croatian-Indian Links: Thirty Chapters for Thirty Years of Diplomatic Relations (1992-2022) marks the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between and India and Croatia and highlights a legacy in which the contributions of our writers, scholars, artists, travellers, politicians are unified in one volume. Some chapters in the volume present certain important individuals and others present some themes or groups of individuals.

Stjepan Radic with grandchildren
Stjepan Radić with his grandchildren

The first chapter, devoted to politics and diplomacy consists of four topics: general topic of political and economic ties between India and Croatia, as well as three important figures for the development of political and diplomatic relations: Stjepan Radić who was significantly influenced by Mahatma Gandhi, Josip Broz Tito who worked closely with India's first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, in the non- alignment movement and Drago Štambuk, the first Croatian Ambassador to India.

The second chapter is devoted to Croatian missionaries in India. First is Nikola Rattkay (1601-1662), a Jesuit missionary on the northwest coast of India; Filip Vesdin, known by his monastic name Paulinus a Sancto Bartholomeao (1748-1806), is the author of the first printed Sanskrit grammar in Europe (1798). The other three missionaries covered in this chapter are Pavao Mesarić, Antun Vizjak and Ante Gabrić, members of the mission in Bengal.

Mahatma Gandhi (a detail), portrayed by Kristian Kreković in 1936,
in his atelier in Paris, during Gandhi's mediatation (a detail)

The third chapter, which deals with literary and cultural ties, opens with an overview of the literary relationships between Croatia and India. It is less known that many Croatian writers were impressed and influenced by India. Thus, India is present in the works of Pero Budmani, Tin Ujević, Ivana Brlić Mažuranić, Vesna Krmpotić, Josip Hitrec and Antun Mihanović. There is also the painter Kristian Kreković, who portrayed Mahatma Gandhi, Croatian mathematicians influenced by the famous Indian mathematician Srinivas Ramanujan and religious groups and groups inspired by Hinduism, which are strongly present in Croatian society.

The last bloc includes experts in Indian studies led by Radoslav Katičić, who in 1959, together with Buddhologist Čedomil Veljačić and literary theorist Svetozar Petrović, founded the study of Indology at the Faculty of Philosophy, University of Zagreb. This group of Indologists also includes Milka Jauk-Pinhak, Zdravka Matišić, Rada Iveković, Ružica Čičak-Chand, Karmen Bašić, Mislav Ježić, Klara Goenc-Moačanin and other active members of the Department of Indology and Far Eastern Studies.

Source: Professor Ivan Andrijanić

Logo of Croatian-Indian Society, publisher of the book.
It was founded in 1994, and its current president is Mr. Joginder Singh Nijjar.

Mr. Joginder Singh Nijjar, president of Croatian-Indian Society.

Presentation of the book at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Zagreb, October 12th, 2022.
From the left: Dr. Goran Grlić-Radman (Minister of foreign and European affairs of the Republic of Croatia), Professor Domagoj Tončinić (Dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Zagreb), H. E. Raj Kumar Srivastava (ambassador of India to Croatia), Professor Josip Andrijanić (Head of the Department of Indology and Far East Studies), Professor Mislav Ježić (Fellow of the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts), Joginder Singh Nijjar (President of Croatian-Indian Society).
On the right of the Croatian Coat of Arms above, the logo of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Science can be seen, representing the so called branched (bifurcated) M appearing in Croatian Glagolitic Script.

Logo of the Department of Indology and Far East Studies (Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Zagreb).

Your Excellency Mr. Srivastava,
dear Mr Dean (Professor Domagoj Tončinić) of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences,
Ladies and gentlemen,

it is my great pleasure to participate in presenting this very interesting book dealing with Croatian-Indian Links.

Let me first express my deep gratitude to Mr. Raj Kumar Srivastava for having suggested its publication. He also suggested its title: "Croatia-India: Thirty Chapters for Thirty Years of Diplomatic Relations (1992-2022)".

Many thanks also to Professor Ivan Andrijanić, editor of the book, for his patience, perserverence and efficiency. He succeeded in preparing this book, jointly with the editorial board, in a relatively short period of time, during less than half a year of intensive work.

I had the privilege of being included as a memebr of the editorial board, along with distinguished Croatian indologist Professor Mislav Ježić (Fellow of Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts) and Dr. Ružica Čičak-Chand.

I also wish to express my gratitude to Mr. Joginder Singh Nijjar, president of Croatian-Indian Society in Zagreb, for his continued interest in preparing the book. This society, of which I am also a member, appears here as a publisher.

Professors Domagoj Tončinić (on the right, the Dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences) and Darko Žubrinić (Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing), University of Zagreb

The title of the book indicates the time span from 1992 till 2022, but in fact, the time interval covered is much longer, which you will immediately notice while browsing through its pages.

As indicated in the title, the book consists of thirty articles, written by more than 20 scholars representing very diverse fields, grouped in four thematic sections:
  1. Politics and diplomacy (consisting of 4 articles on 40 pp);
  2. Missionaries (containing 5 articles on nearly 30 pp);
  3. Literature, Culture, Religion and Science (with 10 articles on nearly 80 pp);
  4. Indology (which has 10 articles (on nearly 80 pp)
  5. Postcript (an article on 5 pp)
The book is accompanied with about 90 photos, some of them very little known.

Let me mention only one striking example, a photo which is somehow connecting this book simultaneously with several departments at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. Namely, on p. 140, in an article written by late Professor Klara Goenc Moačanin, a photo of a text from the Petris Glagolitic Miscellany is included, dating from 1468, in which one can see the name of India being written in Croatian Glagolitic Script. It is an excerpt from a larger description of the Middle Age India, containing more than four pages in this 700 pp glagolitic miscellany. The indicated text is a part of the so-called Lucidarium, a Middle-Age Encyclopaedia. So, this text is very clearly connecting the Department of Indology with the Department of Croatological Studies (in particular with its Chair for Old-Slavonic Language and Croatian Glagolitism), and also with the National and University Library, where this original book dating from the 15th century is kept.

Let us notice the the logo of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences is the glagolitic letter M (the so called bifurcated or branched M), which can be seen in this hall. Also, a very nice logo of the Department of Indology of this faculty, designed in 2019 according to the idea of Professor Ivan Andrijanić, contains the Glagolitic letter M.

We owe our deep gratitude to all the authors of articles written by more than 20 scholars. They made an effort to write them in a very readable and easily accessible way, even when the content was fairly nontrivial.

For me personally, especially interesting and important are the articles written by Professor Mislav Ježić. For example, in his illuminating study about Stjepan Radić and Mahatma Gandhi, he is bringing to light some new insights.

Since I have myself contributed an article dealing with Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948) and Kristian Kreković (1901-1985), Croatian painter who portreyed him in 1936 in his atelier in Paris, I must emphasise my great appreciation for its inclusion. Kreković is still relatively known Croatian painter, about who three monographs were published in Spain (in Castillian and Catalonian), as well as a master thesis written in French. In all of them, his portrait of Mahatma Gandhi occupies distinguished place, as well as in Krekovic's Gallery in Palma de Mallorca, in a hall dedicated to his ideas of world peace. The Gallery was solemnly opened by the Spanish Queen Sophia in 1981.

I am also very glad that an article written by Professor Dipendra Prasad, who serves as the current president of the Indian Mathematical Society, was included. Here I want to express my gratitude to Professor Prasad for his kind permission for his article to be reproduced in the present book. Namely, it was prepared in December 2021, while he participated at a distance from India in a colloquium prepared in Zagreb by the Indian Embassy and Croatian-Indian Society, jointly with the Cultural Society Napredak (i.e., Advancement). The lecture, delivered by my dear colleague Tomislav Šikić from the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing (University of Zagreb), was dedicated to the commemoration of Srinivasa Ramanujan 1887-1920), the greatest Indian mathematician in history, and Professor Prasad participated in it from India. In his address, he mentioned important contributions of Croatian mathematicians Hrvoje Kraljević and Dragan Miličić, and in particular of Marko Tadić and Goran Muić, both of them fellows of the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts, as well as their disciples.

Due to the lack of space and since the number of "chapters" was predefined in the title by 30, some very interesting themes were not included into the book. For example, the name Dr. Sheoraj Singh Jain, who taught Hindi and Urdu at the Department of Indology at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, and actively participated with his family in endeavours of the International fund "Hungry Child" in Zagreb, founded by Vladimir Paleček (1940-1990), would certainly be a very nice additional contribution to a future edition of the book. In addition to this, the fact that more than twenty contemporary Indian mathematicians participate as members of editorial boards in five specialised scientific mathematical journals published in Zagreb, certainly deserves attention. Furthermore, it is worth mentioning that a number of Croatian mathematicians contributed about a dozen of articles to a prestigious Indian scientific journal called "The Ramanujan Journal".

A great discovery for us was the name of Croatian writer Josip Hitrec (known as Joseph George Hitrec in the USA), who at his very young age, as a student of the University of Zagreb, met Mahatma Gandhi in person in 1932. This can be seen in an article written by Hrvoje Hitrec, who is a well known Croatian contemporary writer and a close relative of Josip Hitrec.

The book has been recently presented by Mrs Jane Sha (who is a member of Croatian-Indian Society) and by the Venus Club in Mumbay on 13th September 2022.

I am very glad that the book that we are presenting now in Zagreb, enabled some very interesting themes and personalities connecting India and Croatia to be brought to light, and some of them even to be saved from oblivion.

Thank you.

Darko Žubrinić

Nenad Bach with Joginder Singh Nijjar, president of Croatian-Indian Society in Zagreb.

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