A Diplomat’s Diary

In conversation with H.E José Maria Ridao, Ambassador of Spain in India

Excerpts from an Interview conducted by Seema Dhawan

·        Thanks to your initiative and support to music lovers, what is your favorite genre of music and are there any future music projects in India you are working on.

This concert that took place on Feb 25th, “Minu Bakshi interprets Federico García Lorca” is the first big event organized by the Embassy of Spain after several months of restrictions due to the pandemic. I am very happy and honored to have an Indian artist singing the Spanish popular songs that were once interpreted by one of the greatest poets of the 20th century, Federico García Lorca. I feel delighted to share that the Embassy of Spain is already working on similar cultural events such as a Jazz concert by a Spanish band in Delhi and Mumbai, a large-scale flamenco performance in the second half of this year, and even a Spanish play translated into Hindi.

·        Tell us about your home country.

Spain is a beautiful country that has a very rich and diverse culture. I was very pleased to know that people of India are fond of Spanish culture, its lifestyle, language and food. And therefore, one of my aims as the Ambassador of Spain to India is precisely to make Spanish culture more visible and accessible to people of India. I think that I have the responsibility to help the people of India discover the finest cultural, intellectual and artistic representatives and works of Spain.

·        What was your impression about India and how did you actually find it when you joined the Embassy in New Delhi?

India is very well known for its spirituality so I had the idea that it’s a very spiritual country .When I came here I realised there are many more aspects about India which are very interesting.

·        How long have you been in Delhi?

I came here in August 2021,not even a year but I have visited many places in India.

·        How is your culture different from that of India? Are there any similarities?

As any other country, Spain and India have their own cultural particularities. Both host different languages, regional identities that contribute to their cultural richness. Simultaneously, one may also find other similarities among our countries. For instance, both Spaniards and Indians value family as a central part of their lives and enjoy celebrating this togetherness of family and community through various festivities. In regard to what makes the culture of Spain different from India, I feel that at one point every country values its cultural heritage that unites them through any differences.

·        What do you like most about India?

It is very difficult to choose only one thing that I love the most about India. From food to music, I have a great likeness and respect for the vibrant culture of India. As an avid reader, I am very fond of the books written by Indian authors and intellectuals. The quality of these books is without any doubt exemplary. The abundant artistic and theatrical diversity found here is also worth all the praise.

·        How do you see the relationship between India and Spain? What expectations do you have from this relationship?

The relations between India and Spain are excellent butI believe that there is still scope for strengthening different arenas like the economic, cultural and commercial. Allow me to give you two examples: the learning of Spanish is growing at a fast pace in India, considering that the Instituto Cervantes in New Delhi is the largest institution in terms of admissions in the world. This example illustrates the growing interest of young Indians with regard to Spain. Moreover before the pandemic, the tourism industry of Spain attracted a lot of Indian citizens, and it is our hope that we can return to that level of touristic exchange between our countries.

·        How long have you been in Delhi?

I came here in August 2021,not even a year but I have visited many places in India.

·        What do you like most about India?


·        And what about the food? How do you like Indian food?

I am fond of spicy food so I definitely relish Indian food.

·        Have you seen any Bollywood films?

I have been going to the cinema in Spain to see Indian films.I have seen many and I.I know that one of the most popular actors is Mr Shah Rukh Khan.

·        Your Favourite  film?

‘Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara’

·        Do you like Indian songs?

Yes and my favorite is ‘Senorita’ from ‘Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara’

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