As Bangladesh and India's collaboration has strengthened over time, India, especially West Bengal, could further deepen its people-to-people ties, said Ambassador Riva Ganguly Das, former Secretary (East) in the Indian Ministry of External Affairs.
Das made the comment during an interaction with PTI on Tuesday (20 April).
She suggested that both countries can collaborate in theatre production and writing based on Rabindranath Tagore to share the common culture and language.
"India and Bangladesh now work together in many sectors including connectivity. But there is not much public awareness regarding the collaboration and only issues such as border shoot-outs and illegal immigration are highlighted," she told PTI.
Das said, "Deeper cultural ties will help in removing misconceptions and stereotypes that people of both Bangladesh and India, especially West Bengal harbour towards each other."
"An average educated Bangladeshi looks at India and says we are blood brothers. He or she acknowledges India's role in their country's liberation, just as we acknowledge the gallantry shown by Bangladesh's freedom fighters. However, there will always be discordant notes which can be isolated through frequent cultural exchanges," she said.
"A Bangladeshi top naval officer's wife once told me she goes to Kolkata to watch first-day-first-show of all movies. People come from there for education, medical treatment and even to shop as it should be, between neighbours. Similarly, many Indians do business or study medicine in Bangladesh," she said.
The former diplomat urged the present-day relationship between both parts of Bengal should be much more vibrant.
She said that Bengali-language cinema is one area where there can be massive collaboration between the two countries.
Referring to the India-Bangladesh joint production of the biopic on Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, she said, "There can be joint production of dramas, ballets. There should be collaborative writing of books. Works can be done on Rabindranath Tagore as so many Bangladeshi students come to Santiniketan to study."