Art & cultureLiving

Bonjour India: Science Beyond Borders Exhibition

By Tashi Narula

Bonjour India’s Science Beyond Borders exhibition was inaugurated at the Visual Art Gallery and open Palm Court at the India Habitat Centre, New Delhi, on 12th April at 7 pm. The exhibition will be open to the public from 13th-22nd April, 11 am to 8 pm. The exhibition is part of Bonjour India, an artistic, cultural, educational, and literary initiative by the Embassy of France and its cultural service, Institut Français en Inde, the Alliance Française Network, and the Consulates of France in India.

At the inauguration, guests were welcomed by Dr Alka Pande, Consultant, Visual Arts Gallery. H. E. Mr Emmanuel Lenain, Ambassador of France to India and MrAymar de Liedekerke de Beaufort, Head of Territory, India, and Head of Corporate & Institutional Banking (CIB), India, BNP Paribas, also addressed the audience. This was followed by a guided tour of the exhibition by Dr Nicolas Gherardi, spokesperson of the Curatorial team of Institut Français en Inde.

The exhibition showcases the shared scientific history of Indo-French scientific collaboration. The initiative takes visitors through some rare snippets of the prized Tata Central Archives, gives them a peek into Airbus’ geospatial digital platform, brings to the fore some illustrious records from the Institut Français de Pondichéry, a repository of international research in cultures, environments and societies in South Asia, and delves into the experiences, memories, testimonies of many distinguished personalities from India and France.

The French Institute in India has also organized a forum devoted to health on the 19th of April to bring together general audiences – beyond the scientific and academic communities – to discuss societal concerns around the theme, “Pasteur to Present: 200 years of Indo-French Health Advancement”. Participants will include Narinder Mehra, AIIMS, Dr Geetha Vani Rayasam, Scientist H and Head, CSIR-HRDG, andMrSunit Tandon, Media and Cultural Personality and Director of IHC (India Habitat Centre), Ms Alisha Pathak, interdisciplinary science researcher.

For the French teachers who visit the exhibition with their students, an education kit specifically designed for French language classes has been created. Students will have the opportunity to practice their French through playful activities. They will discover eminent Indian and French scientific figures, learn about Indo-French scientific cooperation, and enrich their French vocabulary.

Instead of delving into the technical nuances of scientific discoveries and achievements, the exhibition allows visitors to hear stories about the interactions of the people behind such discoveries, learn the historical significance of such scientific collaboration, and see how these partnerships continue shaping our world today.  

It will shed light on lesser-known stories such as the electrification of the Indian Railways, the first Indian to take to the skies, and the Indian space programme which kicked off in the 1960s as well as bring to the audience satellite images of Indian cities from space, help them learn about the largest herbal study project on the Indian sub-continent. It will explore the history of the Jantar Mantar, commissioned by Jai Singh, which later proved handy to overseas scholars, including the French Jesuits, in studying astronomy.

Speaking at the inauguration of the Science Beyond Borders exhibition in New Delhi, the Ambassador of France to India, H.E. Mr Emmanuel Lenain, said “Science beyond Borders celebrates the shared scientific history between France and India. It’s an invitation to discover how cooperation and exchange between the best minds of our two countries have paved the way for scientific success in our societies. This exhibition will certainly pique the interest of more professionals and students to aspire for such successes.”

At the inauguration, MrAymar de Liedekerke de Beaufort, Head of Territory, India, and Head of (CIB), India, BNP Paribas said, “As the bank for a changing world, BNP Paribas is globally involved in many projects that foster innovation. Our association with Science Beyond Borders also fosters scientific and technological exchanges between India and France.”

Bonjour India’s events are thoughtfully crafted to delight and entertain, and in most cases are freely accessible to the public. The initiative celebrates the partnership between India and France by providing easy access to French and Indian cultural motifs. Its events are meant to entertain audiences of all ages and backgrounds and to lead to lively and friendly discussions. The events celebrate the centuries-long interactions and friendship between India and France. They are tailored for neophytes and enthusiasts alike, serving as venues where families, school children, young adults, and others, mingle, discuss, explore, and forge memories and experiences that are remembered for a lifetime. The settings of many such events are public places that are easily accessible to many people.     

Bonjour India festival, please visit

The Organisers:

Overall, Bonjour India covers 19 cities across the country, showcasing Indo-French expertise and collaboration in innovation, education, research, science and technology, arts and culture. This artistic, cultural, educational and literary initiative is an Indo-French moment put together by the French cooperation network in India mainly comprising of the Embassy of France and its cultural service, the French Institute in India, the Alliance Française network and, the Consulates of France in collaboration with Indian Council for Cultural Relations, with support from various public and private partners.

The French Institute in India (Institut Français en Inde – IFI) is the educational, scientific and cultural department of the Embassy of France in India. It facilitates academic and scientific exchanges between higher institutes of learning and research, enables student mobility, and promotes the French language, and artistic and cultural partnerships. Cooperation between India and France takes place through a number of sectors: Arts & Culture, Books, Ideas, French Language & Education, the Study in France programme, Academic Partnerships, Science Technology, as well as Innovation and Multimedia.

Alliance Française in India:

The 14 Alliance Française centres across India are part of a worldwide network of associations founded more than 135 years ago, established in 133 countries and welcoming nearly 500,000 learners every year. Enrolling at an Alliance Française centre in India is an opportunity to learn the French language, discover France and explore the unique character, diversity, history, heritage and gastronomy of the country. Quality courses, a warm welcome, professionalism, innovative methods, cultural programmes, a friendly atmosphere – everything is in place to ensure that French learning becomes an unforgettable experience.

BNP Paribas India: Presenting Partner

About BNP Paribas (printed version)

BNP Paribas, which has been in India since 1860, has branches in key metros and offers the entire range of corporate and institutional banking products and services, covering flow banking (transaction banking), financing, hedging, global markets, derivatives and investments. The wholly owned subsidiary Sharekhan, provides personal investment services to individuals across 540+ cities. Further, Technology and Operations global delivery centers in Bengaluru, Chennai and Mumbai support banking operations worldwide. BNP Paribas India Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation, deploys BNP Paribas’ CSR efforts in critical areas including education, youth skilling, culture and environment.

About BNP Paribas (digital version)

BNP Paribas has been in India since 1860. Corporate and Institutional Bank branches in Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru, Chennai, and Pune, offer the entire range of corporate and institutional banking products and services. The wholly-owned subsidiary Share-khan provides investment services to individuals. Further, Technology and Operations global delivery centres support banking operations worldwide.

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