Rich heritage, modern achievements of India, that is 'Bharat' on grand display at G20 venue

This includes replica sculpture of Harappan girl, RBI's digital payment systems

crafts-g-20-pics Crafts bazar at the G20 Summit venue | Sanjay Ahlawat

India may be the host of the G20, but the meeting will take place in 'Bharat'. Officials who are waiting to welcome delegates at the venue of the G20 Summit, Bharat Mandapam in the national capital, have badges that say Bharat instead of India.

But it is more than just the badges. The G20 is very much a moment for the government to carefully craft the image of the country. And the lotus is very much part of it. From the wooden trays being used to keep electronic items that are being scanned in X-ray machines to LED screens in the briefing rooms, the Indian narrative, which G20 Sherpa Amitabh Kant believes will be reflected in the Delhi Declaration, is also shaping India’s story for visitors.

The complex is more than just a space for deliberations; there has been an attempt to make it an experience for delegates. A cultural corridor, which is like a museum, has been created that brings together different cultural objects from the G20 countries. So, there is the Magna Carta, the famous charter of rights from the UK, an 18th-century Qing dynasty jar from China, and a statue of Apollo from Italy. India has chosen to showcase a copy of Ashtadhyayi, a Sanskrit treatise on grammar written in the 6th to 5th century BCE by grammarian Panini.

There is an exhibition on India being the Mother of Democracy that is available on 26 interactive panels in 16 different languages. The history of Bharat will also be on display, from the Vedas to modern democracy. But the star of the event will be a replica sculpture of the Harappan girl, placed on a rotating elevated podium at the centre of the hall in the exhibition area.

The shift to the story of Bharat is not only limited to the delegates. Their spouses too will get to visit an exhibition in the National Gallery of Modern Art that will bear witness to India's past. The 'Roots to Routes' exhibition explores India's civilizational heritage through archaeological artifacts like Chola bronzes, Gandhara statues and the chariot unearthed at Sanauli, which is believed to be from the period between 2500 BCE to 1800 BCE, and which is considered a “proof” to contest the Aryan invasion. This is very much part of Bharat’s past that the BJP wants to portray.

The G20 complex will not only be a testimony to India’s past, but also its digital achievements. There is a digital experience centre at the venue where the Reserve Bank of India showcases its digital payment systems.

Delegates can create an e-wallet and access their money without having an account in India. There is also an e-Sanjeevini portal for anyone who feels under the weather. A delegate ''suffering any sickness or malady can come here, digitally consult a doctor, get immediate medication and an immediate prescription, and have the advantage of the best medical treatment digitally” said G20 Chief Coordinator Harsh Vardhan Shringla.

Of course, no experience can ever be complete without shopping in India. An exhibition, bringing together crafts from across the country, is also available at the complex.

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