Two centuries of U.S.-India relations: U.S. Consulate General brings ‘Kindred Nations’ exhibit to Mumbai

Mumbai:  On September 24, U.S. Consul General Tom Vajda and Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum Honorary Director and Managing Trustee Tasneem Zakaria Mehta jointly launched the “Kindred Nations: The United States and India, 1783-1947”exhibit at Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum in Mumbai.  Kindred Nations showcases U.S.-India relations over the past two centuries through historical images gathered from museums and personal collections.

The Kindred Nations exhibit will be on display at Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum from September 24, 2015 until October 24, 2015.  Sponsored by U.S. Embassy New Delhi and created in cooperation with the Meridian International Center, Kindred Nations also will be displayed in New Delhi, Hyderabad, Kolkata, and Chennai.

U.S. Consul General Tom Vajda said of the Kindred Nations exhibit: “I am delighted to celebrate the historical connections and exchanges between the United States and India. Kindred Nations offers a visual and cultural experience for every Mumbaikar. The photographs, documents, and art on display trace the rich historical linkages between our two great nations, which has culminated in the strong partnership that we enjoy today.”  At the launch, Consul General Vajda highlighted old photographs that capture our two countries shared values, including a photo of American women picketing in support of Indian independence outside the British Embassy to the United States in 1943.

The exhibit features several works related specifically to Mumbai.  The Singer Manufacturing Company’s office, for example, is the subject of a wonderful period portrait, just as the old photograph of ice houses in Bombay piques curiosity about the ice cargo exchange between the United States and India.  The 1880 photograph of Anandibai Joshee, the first Indian woman to earn a medical degree in the United States, speaks of academic exchanges, and the picture of Ragini Devi (Bombay, 1933) features an American performer, born as Esther Sherman, who travelled to India to study Indian dance.

Kindred Nations includes unique and largely unseen images that testify to the depth of historical ties between the United States and India.  The exhibit’s photographs and documents capture experiences across all parts of society: government leaders, merchants, immigrants, artists, educators, and students, each narrative offering different glimpses into the history of the U.S.-India relationship.  While much focus has been placed on U.S.-India relations after India achieved independence, Kindred Nations highlights the 150 years prior to independence.

The Kindred Nations exhibit at Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum coincides with the first-ever U.S.-India Partnership Day.  In 2014, the U.S. Senate declared U.S.-India Partnership Day would be celebrated every September 30 in recognition of our two countries’ contributions to each other and the special and permanent bond between us.