HUMAN INTEREST: A wedding to honour India on Turkish soil

HUMAN INTEREST: A wedding to honour India on Turkish soil – promoting Darjeeling, but against football ?!!

Kural (extreme right) with his group in Darjeeling on Wednesday - a publicity hound ?!! (Suman Tamang)

FROM THE TELEGRAPH CORRESPONDENT

Darjeeling, Sept. 8: A travellers’ club has planned an Indian wedding on Turkish soil to showcase Indian culture.

The grand wedding, complete with food, music and cultural programmes, will be acted out in Istanbul on December 1 by the Turkish Travellers’ Club.

“For the first time, the club — Gezginler Kulubu — along with the Indian consulate will enact an Indian wedding on December 1. This would be the first time that the club will be honouring any particular country,” said Orhan Kural, the president of the club who is credited with having 20 issues of a passport.

The club, which was set up in 1998 after being sanctioned by the Grand National Assembly of Turkey (the country’s parliament), has 270 members.

Kural, who is a part of a 12-member Turkish team touring Darjeeling and Sikkim, arrived here yesterday. The head of the mining faculty at the Istanbul Technical University, Kural, along with his co-traveller Kerem Ulucayli, plans to write his 13th traveller’s book to popularise India, especially the Darjeeling region.

In fact, after each of his eight visits to India, Kural has written about this country and is fascinated by the “calmness of the people”.

“In Turkey, people lose their temper even if they are caught in a traffic jam, but in India there is serenity even when there is a huge traffic jam,” said Kural, 60.

The globetrotter started travelling since the age of 11 and his book, Coal, made it to the Guinness World Records for introductory comments made by 22 presidents of different countries, claimed Kural.

An ardent lover of nature — he has given around 3,000 lectures on environment, anti-smoking themes and the need to stop slaughter of animals — Kural wants people to “stop watching football with a dull mind” and instead spend their energy “travelling across the world, meeting new people, mixing with different culture and enriching the mind”.

“Footballers in Turkey are paid very high while many people have no food to eat. We pay an income tax of about 25 per cent of our annual earnings while footballers only have to dole out 15 per cent. This is unfair,” said Kural.

The travellers’ club president, who is also the honorary consul of the Republic of Benin (a country in west Africa), believes that the country with a population of 70 million should be an attractive place for travel agents from India to build their client base.

“I will write a lot about this place as people only know about Darjeeling Tea. I think we will be able to generate much interest about this place back home,” said Kural who also produces television shows.

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