Maximum India, a 20-day cultural extravaganza of Indian soft power, kicks off in Washington on March 1 with scores of artistes set to enthrall a capital where India is now looked on more favorably than ever before. A recent Gallup Poll put India among Canada, Britain, Japan and ahead of China, and even Israel — as countries rated favorably by Americans. Indias strategic partnership with the U.S has much to do with it, but underpinning that is a cultural bonding that has come a long way since 1985 when America got a sustained taste of India. In recent years, Kennedy Center has hosted a China Festival, an African Odyssey and an Arabian extravaganza even as memories of the great Festival of India had begun to fade. Fortunately, New Delhi responded with alacrity to Kennedy Center’s initiative to drum up the India beat again. The result is a fiesta that will be brighten up Washington DC’s cultural calendar in the fading days of winter.