During the G7 meeting in Germany, Prime Minister Narendra Modi gifted US President Joe Biden a pink enamel brooch and cufflink set. The cufflinks were specially designed for the President with a matching brooch for the First Lady.
The Prime Minister took with him a plethora of such artistic gifts for each of the 7 leaders.
Pink Meenakari is a GI-tagged art form of Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh. A piece of pure silver is cast as the base, and the chosen design is engraved into the metal.
While black pottery pieces from Nizamabad were gifted to Japanese PM Kishida Fumio, a Nandi-themed Dokra art piece received from Chhattisgarh was presented to Argentine President Alberto Fernandez, and a hand one from Bulandshahr in Uttar Pradesh The painted tea set was for the British Prime Minister. Boris Johnson.
“The gifts celebrate the diversity of India; What made the selection significant was that these were not particularly expensive items, but a celebration of India’s craft traditions,” said a source close to the selection.
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Other leaders of the powerful group also received personalized and selective gifts. French President Emmanuel Macron received a selection of Itar bottles from Kannauj, UP, packaged in a custom-made zardozi box, with Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi gifting a marble inlaid table top, which Originated in Agra, while presented to Senegal’s President Mackie Sall. Moonj baskets and cotton rugs were imported from Prayagraj, Amethi and Sultanpur in Uttar Pradesh. A hand-woven silk carpet from Kashmir was gifted to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, while German Chancellor Olaf Scholz was presented with a metal-carved matka from Moradabad.
Behind the selection, there was also an effort to find common links and celebrate shared traditions. For example, to celebrate the Ramayana ties shared between India and Indonesia, the Prime Minister gifted a one lakh Ram Darbar to Indonesian President Joko Widodo. The GI-tagged lacquer art-form has its roots in the temple city of Varanasi, UP. The Indonesian version of the Ramayana – known as the Kakavin Ramayana – is believed to have been written during the Medang Empire (8th–11th centuries) in Central Java. Similarly, marble inlay has its origins in opus sectile – a form of pietra dura popular in the ancient and medieval Roman world where the material was cut and inlaid into walls and floors to create drawings or patterns.
“The Prime Minister’s Office indicates the idea or choice before an official visit. Items are then shortlisted and selected accordingly,” said the source.