Blog article by Tanaz Buhariwalla, Director - IDA Ireland India
Talk to an Irishman on Indian mythology - flying elephants, shape-shifters, multiple-headed demons - and he'll know exactly what you're talking about. After all, the Irish have their very own fascinating Celtic tales. Much like India, the Irish can boast of an ancient and revered culture. And somewhere along the way, our ancestors managed to meet and exchange musical notes in the Iron age, literary ideas in the 19th century, and more recently tech-trade innovations. Here's a look at some of our similarities:
1) The Vedic Connection: Ireland is steeped in myths and legends, and Celtic sites abound with tales of Gods and Goddesses who are as fierce as they are generous; where nature is worshipped, and faith brings miracles. Just as ancient Hindu texts assert that life began when the river Ganga descended to Earth from Shiva's matted locks; similarly Celtic mythology has Goddess Danu, the 'Mother of all Gods' who was born when a single drop of water fell onto a volcanic Earth.
Talk to a gabby local on a rainy day - and there's plenty of both in Ireland - and you may just learn about the Irish God Lugh, a mighty King who controlled the skies, much like the King of Heaven, Lord Indra. Our ancient belief systems were also recorded in similar languages: Sanskrit and Irish Gaelic belong to the same family of Indo-European languages.
Today, English binds us as it enjoys official status in both countries and is the chosen language for business communications across the Emerald isle. And while we've got Hinglish, they've got their own version, with a few endearing Gaelic words thrown in. But where they beat us hands down is with their lyrical accent, which has been voted the, Sexiest in the World. (Poll.com survey of 2009). More recent surveys note the accent as the most neutral accent in Europe and therefore more easily understood and also a preferred accent for call centres (https://yougov.co.uk/news/2014/12/09/accent-map2/)
2) Celtic Horns and the Keralite Kompu: Who would've thought that Ireland's Iron age musical traditions, could be heard loud and clear in the coastal state of Kerala! But that's what you get thanks to the C-shaped horn, the Kompu. Archeologist and PhD student Billy O Foghlu of the ANU (Australian National University) College of Asia-Pacific, found that the Kompu was almost identical in sound-scape to the Celtic horn. Clearly, we enjoyed a lively cultural exchange even in centuries gone by!
While Celtic horns are no longer in use in Ireland, music continues to be an integral part of their culture. Most Irish pride themselves in their ability to play an instrument or hold a tune (or croon!). Little wonder that the music band to take home the most number of Grammy Awards - a whooping 22 - is the Irish band U2.
3) When Tagore met Yeats: In St. Stephens green, an iconic Dublin park, lies a bust of Rabindranath Tagore. It is the only statue of a non-Irishman to ever feature in the park. And it stands as a testament to --Excellence Scholarship amongst many others.
4) Breaking Free of the British: Ireland was once part of the British Empire, while India was a former British colony. Both countries strived for independence and a revolution was taking place, almost simultaneously in India and Ireland. And even while the Irish Free State was formed in 1922, they supported India's cause with the formation of the Irish-Indian Independence League in 1932. The league helped set up free trade stores, facilitated visits of Indian activists to Europe, etc., and in subtle ways contributed to India's freedom movement.
5) We're both geeks. And we've managed to capitalise on it. While the technology boom in India has resulted in silicon cities like Bangalore and Hyderabad, Dublin has the 'Silicon Docks'. The Docks are a large stretch along the harbour, in the city-centre, which house the European headquarters of the biggest names in technology. Google, Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, Twitter, Linkedin, they're all here.
Discuss coding, a brand new app, a complex tech toy, and you'll find a Dubliner who gets you. Because like India, Ireland has a young workforce and a competitive R & D environment. The island nation enjoys a strategic position in Europe, a supportive government and competitive tax rates. Little wonder that Indian companies such as Infosys, HCL, Tech Mahindra, TCS, Wipro, BrowserStack, SMT amongst others have set up their European base in Ireland. Most of these companies have also based R&D centres and Centres of Excellence in Ireland.
Here's a look at the Dublin tech map
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