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UN project on India’s intangible heritage inventory

UN project on India’s intangible heritage inventory
Highlights

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

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. 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 with not just with wealth of iconic monuments and landmarks and built heritage, but also home to countless intangible cultural heritage, like folk music, art forms, textile design, craftsmanship,” he said. But, a number of these intangible cultural heritage are ‘disappearing’ on a daily basis and it ‘pains me’, the UN official said.

“We at UN India, are working on a project that will seek to create an inventory of intangible cultural heritage. We will take help of crowd-sourcing as well,” Afanasiev told PTI. On October 24, the United Nations had dedicated its iconic campus here to India's cultural heritage as its office in New Delhi marked the UN Day with a dazzling display of the country's tangible and intangible cultural heritage.

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.

Afanasiev said the project duration would span about a year. He also said UN, besides engaging with its own agencies like UNESCO and UNDP, would also collaborate with several Ministries, such as the Ministry of Culture and Ministry of Textiles. 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.”

By Kunal Dutt

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