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The Badrinaths- Indians under Spotlight

The Badrinaths- Indians under Spotlight

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I came to know about the Badrinaths and their association through a friend who had forwarded me an email announcing a monthly meeting of the members. The topic of the meeting was 'Rabindranath Tagore: à la rencontre de l’universalisme'. I was intrigued as this was perhaps one of those few times when the notion of Indian culture in France was not served on a Bollywood platter. A few mails later, I had the chance to meet the Badrinaths at their home in Buc near Versailles.

 

 

Mrs. & Mr. Badrinath


We were greeted at the door with an affable smile from Mr. Badrinath who ushered us in. We were joined by Mrs. Lalitha Badrinath a few moments later. Conversation followed over a cup of tea elegantly served by Mrs. Badrinath in her delicate China.


The Badrinaths are a warm couple. Mr. Badrinath came to work in France and started off in Belfort, East France as an Engineer in 1957. He made his way into the French culture through sheer enterprise and perseverance, learning the French language for starters, like most of us. As per Mr. Badrinath, his learning curve was much smaller since he was forced to speak French as those around him, at work and in social life, did not follow much English, if at all.

 

 

GRFI Meeting

 

Lalitha joined him in 1965 after their marriage. Prior to that she had done her university studies in Madras and New York. She pursued further studies in Paris at the École des Hautes Études Indiennes. Motherhood followed and Lalitha embraced being in France with the same warm smile with which she greets her guests. They have been based at Buc since 1974. Lalitha has worked for several years in the field of special education for handicapped persons. Now, she is handling her duties as an elected Municipal Councillor for Social Affairs in Buc.

 

 

Lalitha Badrinath


The Association- Groupe de RĂ©flexion Franco-Indien- of which Lalitha is the president, was created in 1990. As per the Badrinaths, their idea was to have a non-sectarian association for the dissemination of knowledge and information in the areas of interest pertaining to India and France. Nineteen years later, their motivation is as strong as ever. The association meets on a monthly basis to discuss various subjects- philosophy, arts, literature, ancient and contemporary history, languages, civilisations, science, technology etc. The meetings are in French or in English depending on the choice of the speaker, with however most of the audience being bilingual. The association has a music research group that researches the history and evolution of Indian music. The research is carried out over about six months every year to bring out the paper for presentation during the annual meeting.

 

Association GRFI meeting


(In this photo, Jacques Attali, a leading French economist and advisor to the then President François Mitterand at GRFI's meeting in Buc. He spoke to the members about his biography on Gândhî*)

 

The Badrinaths have a huge collection of books on various subjects. Apart from a shared interest of reading, in their spare time, Mr. Badrinath tends to the garden and Mrs. Badrinath likes to cook and to take care of the plants. They have two sons and are also doting grandparents to five grand-children. Related to the same illustrious family as the Nobel Laureate CV Raman and others who have worked closely at the helm of India's international and scientific affairs, it is no wonder that the association should have a scientific approach to knowledge and its dissemination. Information pertaining to the activities of the association is regularly published by the Indian Embassy through their newsletter. The membership to the association is free and monthly meetings carry no participation fees.


Groupe de RĂ©flexion Franco-Indien

(Association régie par la loi du 1er Juillet, 1901)

10, rue Charles Gounod, 78530, Buc

Tel: +33 (0) 1 39 56 47 89

E-mail : This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

photos: The Badrinaths & Lalitha Badrinath (c) IIP, Association GRFI meetings (c) Lalitha Badrinath

* 'Gândhî ou l'éveil des humiliés: Biography' by Jacques Attali is available from Editions Fayard, ISBN-10: 2213631980, Paperback, French language, 544 pages, 23€