The evening sun was shining on the ceremony attended by India‘s Minister of State for External Affairs Mobashar Jawed Akbar and the country’s Ambassador Ajay Bisaria, as well as a crowd of Užupis residents and visitors.
“I am happy to greet everyone in a 3,000-year-old language that has over 10,000 words in common with Lithuanian,” said Ambassador Bisaria, in Sanskrit, before presenting his letters of credence to the prime minister of Užupis Republic.
Minister MJ Akbar noted that, despite differences in size, Užupis and India had much in common: “The measure of a country is not geography, the measure of a country is the size of its heart. Both India and Užupis have very big hearts, which makes them neighbours.”
Užupis is a district in Vilnius known for its art galleries and bohemian community. In 1997, it mockingly proclaimed itself an independent republic and also drafted a constitution which contains articles such as “People have the right to live by the River Vilnelė, while the River Vilnelė has the right to flow past people” and “A dog has the right to be a dog”.
Several dozen metal plaques with the Constitution of Užupis translated into different languages are mounted on a wall on Paupio Street. It a site popular with tourists and locals alike.
The document has been translated into Hindi by Kristina Luna Dolinina and into Sanskrit by Vytis Vidūnas.