Her excellency Kim Jung Sook ( Hangeul:김정숙), the First Lady of the Republic of Korea served as the Guest Of Honor for a webinar organized by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations on the 3rd of October 2020. The webinar, titled “Weaving Relations: Textile Tradition”, opened with an inaugural speech by the Honorable Prime Minister of India Mr. Narendra Modi followed by a gracious speech delivered by the First Lady. In keeping with the theme of the webinar, she declaimed the address enrobed elegantly in a dress made from Banarasi Khadi.

“I would like to extend my deepest condolences and heartfelt sympathies to all those affected by COVID-19. It is high time for the whole of humanity to stand together in the spirit of global solidarity. In this respect, today’s webinar as part of celebrating the noble spirit of Gandhi carries greater relevance and importance,”

 

– with these comforting words she acknowledged and cemented the theme of the webinar.

Further reminiscing her solo trip to India in 2018, where she celebrated Diwali along with the entire nation in the holy city of Ayodhya and inaugurated Queen Huh (Suriratna) Memorial Park, she said,

“It was a deeply meaningful visit to witness and confirm that an ancient bond between Korea and India which continues to the present day will move forward into the future where our two countries will co prosper.”

Impressing upon the Blue House’s great respect held for the Father of India, she recalled how his excellency Moon Jae-In, the President of South Korea retraced Mr. Gandhi’s steps at the Gandhi Smriti back in 2018 with Mr. Modi and had a discussion on the Gandhian philosophy of non-violence. This discussion resulted in a keynote speech delivered by the President at the commemoration ceremony of the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in September 2019.

A fervent believer of Gandhian philosophies, she reflected on the meaning of the Charkha, the replica of which was gifted to her by Mr. Modi during her visit to the Gandhi Smriti, she said:

“Be the change you wish to see- Gandhi once said and he himself spun the thread on a spinning wheel.”

Delineating on this line, she explained how the Swadeshi and Khadi movement started by Gandhi fostered economic independence and provided employment opportunities for millions of people within the nation. She impressed upon the message of self-sustenance.

“The charkha was indeed a symbol of solidarity and freedom.”

Binding the mutual affability between the two nations, she said:

“South Korea and India celebrate the 47th anniversary of diplomatic relations this year. Under the Moon administration, our two countries have worked together to further strengthen the ‘Special Strategic Partnership’ built upon the two leaders’ friendship and mutual trust. In the midst of the global pandemic, we have reconfirmed our strong bilateral ties.”

She concluded her adulatory speech by saying:

“As in the verses of the great Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore, I truly hope India and Korea will be the lamp that contributes to the peace and prosperity not just in Asia, but around the world.”

 

Finally ending with a Sanskrit shloka:

“Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam.” (Translation: The world is my family) and “Gamsahamnida.” (Translation: Thankyou).

The webinar and her excellency’s speech portrays how the cultural, diplomatic and political ties between South Korea and India are stronger than ever. The nations are a pioneer of bilateral peace and prosperity for the entire continent.

Watch the entire speech here: