Indian academic receives highest Mexican honour

20 November 2018


During a week-long celebration of Mexican poet Octavio Paz’s works, Indian academician Shyama Prasad Ganguly, former professor of Spanish and Latin American Studies at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, was conferred the highest civilian honour of Mexico – the Order of the Aztec Eagle.


The decoration of the Mexican Order of the Aztec Eagle (Orden Mexicana del Águila Azteca) is the highest distinction awarded by the Mexican government to foreigners in recognition of their outstanding services to Mexico or to humanity. Professor Shyama Prasad Ganguly receives the Order in grade, Insignia, for his outstanding work in the study and dissemination of the Spanish language and Mexican culture, to strengthen Mexico-India cultural relations.


The award was presented to Prof. Ganguly by H.E. Ms. Melba Pria, Ambassador of Mexico to India, at a ceremony during the “India Remembers Octavio Paz” event organised to celebrate the Mexican Nobel laureate and former ambassador to India, in the presence of renowned poets, writers, academicians and experts on Octavio Paz who were personally close to the great poet.


Prof. Ganguly stands out for his constant activity as a teacher, researcher, promoter and connoisseur of the Spanish language, as well as for his connection with Mexico, where he has been a visiting researcher at El Colegio de México and the National Autonomous University of Mexico. His remarkable interest in Mexican culture has made him a mentor and promoter of this within India. The academic prestige of Prof. Ganguly has led him to participate with presentations at conferences in Mexico and around the world, as well as to direct sessions and meetings of researchers on topics related to Hispanic studies and Spanish language learning. Apart from creating several Spanish language study courses in India, he has also been director of numerous doctoral and master's theses in the area of ​​Hispanic-American society, culture and literature.


The distinguished award stands testament to his contribution towards greater diffusion of Mexico, the Spanish language and the literary work of different Hispanic writers, which at the same time, has facilitated the cultural understanding between India and Mexico, as well as between India and Ibero-America. His efforts as a promoter of the Spanish language have resulted in the opening of the Cervantes Classroom at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, the basis for the establishment of the Cervantes Institute in New Delhi.


The condecoration followed an evening of literary events organised by the Embassy of Mexico in India, including the launch of a book, “Octavio Paz and India: Enduring Resonances”, and a seminar on “Octavio Paz: Exploring the Labyrinth”, in which poets, K. Satchinandan and Udayan Vajpeyi, and academicians Minni Sawhney and S. P. Ganguly, explored various aspects of Paz’s poetry and philosophy, concluding with a commentary by renowned Mexican writer and thinker, Alberto Ruy Sanchez.


Other Indian recipients of the Mexican Order of the Aztec Eagle this year, are Mr. Rajju Shroff, Honorary Consul of Mexico in Mumbai; Dr. Raghupati Singhania, Chairman & Managing Director, JK Tyre & Industries Ltd, President of JK Tornel S.A. De C.V., Mexico; Ambassador Chokila Iyer, former Indian ambassador in Mexico; and Mrs. Ela Bhatt, social activist and founder of women’s organization SEWA.