UN to protect India’s Intangible Cultural Heritage

UN to protect India’s Intangible Cultural Heritage

by Shruthi Venkatesh November 1 2018, 3:13 pm Estimated Reading Time: 2 mins, 37 secs

Concerned over the "disappearance" of many intangible legacy of India over time, the UN will soon launch a project on creating an "inventory" of art forms, craftsmanship and other intangible cultural heritage of the country. This good initiative was most awaited by the cultural descendants of India.  UN Resident Coordinator in India Yuri Afanasiev said “the "wiki-styled project" involving multiple stakeholders is planned to be executed, among other means, through "crowd-sourcing”. “India is endowed not just with wealth of iconic monuments and landmarks and built heritage, but also home to countless intangible cultural heritages, like folk music, art forms, textile design, and craftsmanship,” he said. 

The fact is that a number of tangible assets are disappearing on a daily basis. And the UN in India, are working on a project that will seek to create an inventory of intangible cultural heritage. On October 24, the United Nations had dedicated its iconic campus in New Delhi to India's cultural heritage as it marked the UN Day with a dazzling display of the country's tangible and intangible cultural heritage. 

Kumbh Mela.jpeg

A total of 13 intangible cultural heritage elements from India have been inscribed till date on the UNESCO's Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. These include the Kumbh Mela, Novruz, Tradition of Vedic chanting, Ramlila, Kutiyattam, Sanskrit theatre; Ramman, religious festival and ritual theatre of the Garhwal Himalayas; Kalbelia folk songs and dances of Rajasthan; and Chhau dance. This project is a snapshot inventory of intangible cultural heritage which seeks to capture in a capsule of sorts, for the posterity. So, it is most likely to be documenting the sounds, sights, techniques, styles, through photographs or other audio-visual medium.

Apart from engaging with UN’s own agencies like UNESCO and UNDP, the collaboration will also take place with several ministries such as the Ministry of Culture and Ministry of Textiles.

Ramman festival of the Garhwal Himalayas.jpg

On UN Day, Afanasiev had hailed India's cultural diversity, saying, “I personally have a love affair with India, its rich taste, colours, sounds, smells and food. The UN House has been revived as the site for the safeguarding of the history of the seven decade long India-UN partnership and of India's great contributions to the UN”, he said. This proud project by the UN is believed to be dedicated to India’s cultural heritage with a view of vibrant developmental traditions of the country that will provide the right environment for sustainable development goals too.

Srishti Kaur, a 20 year old winner of a national beauty pageant in teen category in 2017, was among the invitees at the UN Day. She said she runs a clothing line in Noida that promotes khadi and cotton. "We as youth must take pride in our cultural heritage and promote it," Kaur stated proudly. As told by the UN officials, the project is expected to be completed within a year’s time. As a country, we must cherish this second chance to understand and protect the worth of our own culture and our motherland.

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