India by the Creek Day 3: Dubai Celebrates India’s Culture


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The inaugural “India by the Creek” festival in Dubai concluded on a high note, successfully bridging the gap between Indian and Emirati cultures. The three-day India by the Creek event, held at the Al Seef heritage district, brought together a vibrant tapestry of music, literature, and discussions, fostering a deeper understanding and appreciation between the two nations.

India by the Creek: Melodies Kick Off the Final Day

The India by the Creek closing day commenced with a captivating display of musical heritage. Renowned artists from both India and the UAE took center stage, showcasing the rich diversity of their musical traditions. From the soulful renditions of classical music to contemporary fusion pieces, the India by the Creek audience embarked on a borderless sonic journey.

From Idea to Reality: A Collaborative Effort

Ramesh Cidambi, Chief Operating Officer of Dubai Duty Free, shed light on India by the Creek festival’s origin. Initially envisioned as “India Talks,” focusing on author discussions, the concept evolved into a full-fledged festival thanks to the collaboration with Teamwork Arts, the team behind the renowned Jaipur Literature Festival. This expansion resulted in a three-day extravaganza encompassing music, dance, literary events, and even the unveiling of a translated book by a former Indian ambassador.

Unveiling a Legacy: “A Game of Fire” Takes Center Stage

A significant highlight of the final day was the unveiling of Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, the UAE’s Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence. The book, titled “A Game of Fire,” is a translated version of a classic by renowned Indian writer Nanak Singh, brought to life by former Indian ambassador Navdeep Suri. The translated work serves as a window into India’s history, particularly the partition era, offering valuable insights for over 75 years.

Overcoming Challenges: Resilience and Triumph

The festival team faced unexpected hurdles, particularly during the second day when unstable weather conditions threatened to dampen the mood. However, their unwavering spirit and adaptability, honed over 12 years of experience, allowed them to overcome these challenges. A heartwarming example of this resilience was shared by Sanjoy K. Roy, managing director of Teamwork Arts. He recounted the story of the Indian Ocean band, whose drummer got stranded due to a snowstorm. Fortunately, a dedicated fan and drummer based in Dubai stepped in, saving the day and exemplifying the festival’s magical spirit.

Culture for the Soul: Literary Discourse and Shared Roots

The closing day also witnessed a captivating literary discourse featuring acclaimed authors, poets, and intellectuals from both India and the UAE. Through engaging discussions, participants explored the common threads woven into the rich histories of India and the UAE, fostering a deeper understanding of their shared cultural heritage.

Exploring Gandhi’s Legacy: A Timeless Message

One of the most captivating discussions focused on Mahatma Gandhi and his enduring influence across generations. Moderated by Roy, the session featured Indian writer Purushottam Agrawal, who delved into the reasons behind Gandhi’s enduring relevance across cultures. Together with Ravi Menon’s insightful counterpoints, the discussion offered a nuanced perspective on Gandhi’s legacy.

A Grand Finale: A Night of Music and Celebration

The India by the Creek concluded with a captivating performance by the Kashmiri band Alif and the renowned Hindustani qawwal Lakhwinder Wadali. The electrifying performance brought the house down, leaving a lasting impression on the audience.

The “India by the Creek” festival successfully served as a platform for cultural exchange and mutual appreciation between India and the UAE. The event’s diverse offerings, from captivating musical performances to insightful literary discussions, fostered a stronger bond between the two nations, setting the stage for future collaborations.

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