International peace has been at peril on and off. When two big cities thus strike a peace union, it opens up a hopeful horizon. Moscow and New Delhi have set international peace high on their agenda with Carnegie Endowment for International Peace setting up centers in both cities. Carnegie Endowment is a pioneering organization conducting research and analysis on foreign trade policies, nuclear non-proliferation issues and bilateral economic relations between nations, aiming at fostering world peace. Being an influential global think tank of the world, they had set up the Moscow center way back in 1910, while New Delhi got its share in 2016. Cheap flights from Moscow to New Delhi made regular meetings in one of their offices easy. Understanding dynamics of the then Soviet Union, helped them bring peace in the region with director Dmitri Trenon lending expertise on foreign policy and security policy program. The Indian center headed by C. Raja Mohan, deals with economic and social reforms in India, India’s foreign and security policy, and impact of innovation and technology in modern India. Building up a healthy society in these twin cities by eradicating conflicts, helped in imbibing a peaceful environment. Moscow and New Delhi walked on similar trails bridging a bond.
Idols of Hindu God, Lord Vishnu, dating back to 10th and 11th century, unearthed in Russia, reflects its strong religious link with India, where Hinduism is the primary religion. Hindu religious groups like Slavic Vedism, The International Society for Krishna Consciousness and Ramkrishna Mission have a strong presence in Russia. Recognizing this cultural and religious connection, the mayor of Moscow signed an agreement with Delhi Chief Minister in 2006 to build a Vishnu temple in Moscow and a Russian orthodox church in New Delhi. Surely this took a while to negotiate, so lots of flights from Moscow to New Delhi were involved. The Moscow Vedic Centre, a temple dedicated to Lord Krishna, came up in 2012. The Russian church in New Delhi is awaiting final approval from Russia to start its construction. Till that comes up, New Delhi’s Russian Orthodox parish, registered in 2006 and named after Apostle Thomas, functions as a prayer haven to a growing number of Russian Christians in India. Moscow and New Delhi are indeed riding high on their religious and cultural ties.
Moscow and New Delhi have always shown communist inclinations and influences. While Moscow has a predominant presence of Communist ideology, India is by large a socialist nation since independence. Rise of communist leaders Karl Marx and Lenin, and their teachings, had a great influence on Indian youths. K. Gopalakrishnan and Omana, a noted Indo-Russian couple, played a great role in spreading Russian literature among Indian masses. They curated and translated more than 200 Russian books in Malayalam, a popular South Indian language, and made them into popular children books. They joined the Communist Party of India in the 1950s and went on to become editor of The USSR News and Views in the Soviet Information Centre of New Delhi. By editing and publishing The Soviet Review Digest, they helped Indian readers understand Soviet Union’s policies and their communist principles. In 1966 they joined the Russian government as translators and soon took their last flights from Moscow to New Delhi as they relocated their home town. They stayed in Moscow for 25 long years, translating Russian books to different Indian languages. Their first translated work was An Old Bolshevik, followed by Maxim Gorky’s Mother, books by Anton Chekov, besides political books by Lenin and Marx. They played a pivotal role in strengthening cultural ties between India and Russia through literature. K. Gopalakrishnan had such an immense influence on both nations, that he is often known as Moscow’s Gopalakrishnan. He acted as a connecting link between Moscow and New Delhi.
Kumara Padmanabha Sivasankara was the first Indian ambassador to Soviet Union in 1952 after Indian independence. An able civil servant, he ensured a strong tie between the two nations. After retirement, he became a patron to the Centre for Russian Studies in Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. He wrote The Flying Troika and Russian Panorama, based on his experiences in Moscow. Troika was a horse drawn sleigh in Russia, used for carrying officials, packages, letters etc. from Moscow to other parts of the country in the 18th century. Later, Troika became a cultural icon of Russia. No doubt, Menon tried emphasizing on this cultural influence, and hence his book featured the name Troika. Menon was conferred an Honorary Doctor Litterarum from Moscow University and awarded The Lenin Peace Prize in 1977 by the Russian Government. Hence this influential diplomat ensured a flight of words and intellect between Moscow and New Delhi through literary ventures.