The South Asian superpower has immense ‘soft power’ to offer to the West. However, there are no opportunities in Vienna where one can experience India’s rich cultural diversity and lifestyle. Unfortunately, neither India’s official representatives, nor the plethora of small and uncoordinated organizations, are able to harness and cater to this demand, and present a diverse cultural program with quality content to an international audience for 365 days a year. The Indian cultural programs that are held in Vienna are limited only to a few selected niches, where a smaller group of (Indian) artists offer performances in private homes or third-rate venues.
This is the very reason Dr. Jyotsna B. Pippal and Wolfgang Bergthaler laid the foundation for their non-profit organization Seva India two years ago. Seva India is driven by its founding members’ passion to bring the diversity of India to the people of Vienna and to facilitate a cultural exchange at the grassroots level.
The Annual SEVA INDIA Festival in Vienna
In this spirit, the Seva India founders and a core team organizes and hosts the annual Seva India Festival, which takes place in September.
Contributors from various organizations and communities have joined hands to host 40 high-quality presentations, interactive workshops and even improv performances to share their personal insight, inspirational stories and passion beyond the usual clichés and stereotypes.
Please find reviews of the Festival on our blog: one in German (the main language we use to communicate with the community), and a special one in English (about the Seva panel discussion):
Seva India is not a private, but a community-driven initiative, where all Indians and India-related initiatives are given a platform to connect and collectively harness public interest in Indian culture and its lifestyle.
Beyond Brexit: The Vision for a SEVA INDIA House in Vienna
“To have a noticeable impact and to be fair towards the rich and diverse cultural heritage of India, the activities of Seva India must go beyond sporadic pop-up events,” says Jyotsna, the chairperson of Seva India. “Vienna is in dire need for a permanent establishment where India finds its home in Central Europe – the SEVA INDIA House is a low-threshold, versatile and inclusive space in nature that meets that need.”
The SEVA INDIA House is the brainchild of its founders. The vision is for it to serve as a hub for Indians and Europeans alike, being a touch-point for the Indian diaspora, incoming Indian tourists, and Austrians interested in India, as well as entrepreneurs doing business between both continents. The property would host businesses offering high-quality products, an organic vegetarian/vegan restaurant, an open kitchen (for workshops), a co-working and co-learning space, an auditorium for public performances such as music and dance, an inter-religious prayer and meditation room, a yoga studio, and apartments for lease for long- and short-term guests from India. The Seva India team is currently looking for strategic partners with a background in real estate development, finance and hospitality to assist us in developing our concept and to help make Vienna the “Indian capital” in the European Union post-Brexit.