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Inspired by India

Inspired by India

Celebrating British Council's 70 years in India

The cultural link and relationships built between Indian and the UK is often done through the auspices of the British Council who acts as a conduit between the two nations. Celebrating 70 years in the business, the British Council has been conducting several wonderful projects to mark the special occasion,

As part of our 70th anniversary celebrations, the organisation has unveiled 'The 70 Words Project', to bring to light how India has influenced and inspired the English language over the years by presenting 70 words of Indian origin that have found their way into the mainstream English lexicon.

All the words featured in the project are part of the Oxford English Dictionary, and experts from the Oxford University Press were consulted while finalising the 70 words.

Spanning across a wide range of categories from food, to clothing, to people, spirituality, wildlife and more, the words are a testament to the relationship UK and India have shared in the last 70 years through educational and cultural partnerships and fostering collaborations, stated the Council.

Words like pashmina, dal, chutney and pyjamas form part of a list of 70 Indian origin words included in the Oxford English Dictionary unveiled by the British Council.

The occasion highlighted how the English language has evolved with the words of Indian origin, with some words dating back to the pre-independence period while many were added recently, including those like bhelpuri and churidar, it added.

Pointing to the “many points of connection over the centuries in which people, ideas, language, goods and services have moved between Britain and India”, the British Council India Director Alan Gemmell said the 70 words are a “momentary reminder of the layers of connection and fluid nature of the English language”.

“For the cashmere we drape and pyjamas we sleep in; the bangles we wear; the shampoo that cleans our hair; the cheetahs we watch whose speed we admire; and, the curry and kedgeree we might eat on a verandah — we thank the rich languages of India, and the people who have mixed and shared over the generations of those last 400 years,” he said. Some of the words, the Council said, will be reimagined visually through 14 illustrations by the UK and Indian artists. All 70 words can be accessed online at www.britishcouncil.org.in.

The Council’s other project to mark the 70th Anniversary include: -


Mix The City Bengaluru: A music exploration platform that lets you discover the sights and sounds of different cities across the world through their music.


British Council India 70th Anniversary Scholarships: As part of our 70th anniversary in India celebrations, we awarded fully-funded scholarships to 100 Indian women to study STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) subjects at UK's premier, higher education institutions.


The biggest ever Commonwealth Big Lunch: British Council hosted the biggest-ever Commonwealth Big Lunch with 30,000 students of Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences and 53 Commonwealth High Commissioners sharing a meal together.


India Garden at Chelsea Flower Show: This year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show saw its first Indian garden - India: A Billion Dreams, commissioned by British Council and designed by award-winning designer Sarah Eberle.


Changing Moves Changing Minds: Promoting positive gender roles: Changing Moves Changing Minds challenges gender stereotypes and opens up opportunities to girls and boys through play, cricket and dance.


Bengal’s Durga at Totally Thames 2018: Bengal’s Durga is an exhibition of photographs depicting the Durga Puja of West Bengal, at Totally Thames 2018.


70 Years in India Digital Open Call: The second call was launched to capture the many stories and collective memories of our work since 1948.



Inspired by India: The Howard Hodgkin Story: A special exhibition and talk by Antony Peattie about UK artist Howard Hodgkin, creator of the iconic banyan tree mural on the British Council Delhi building's façade.


For further details please see British Council Inspired by India


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