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A SHORT INDIAN GLOSSARY: Saraswati

Compiled/Written by Murali Kamma Email Compiled/Written by Murali Kamma
January 2014
A SHORT INDIAN GLOSSARY: Saraswati

SARASWATI

No, we’re not referring here to another Indian-American achiever. So, then, why did the goddess of knowledge and the arts draw media attention? That’s because a statue of Saraswati was presented by Indonesia—the world’s largest Muslim nation—to the city of Washington, D.C. several months ago. Reaching a height of 16 feet, the white-and-gold statue can be seen in D.C.’s Embassy Row, where it stands majestically in front of the Indonesian Embassy on Massachusetts Avenue. Perched on lotus petals, with her four arms raised and a benevolent smile on her lips, the goddess of learning is looking down at a white swan and three children who are reading a book. It was carved by sculptors from Bali, the only Hindu-dominated province in Indonesia.

Saraswati’s aerie in D.C. seems ideal—it’s not far from the Gandhi statue in front of the Indian Embassy. The message of tolerance couldn’t be clearer.   


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