Prahlad Singh Patel, Minister of State, Tourism & Culture (I/C), launched the National List of Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) of India on World Heritage Day. MOT celebrated the special occasion by conducting a series of webinars, titled ‘Dekho Apna Desh’. Patel addressed live through the webinar on Ancient Temple city of Mamallapuram which had participants from all over the world. The second webinar was titled ‘World Heritage and Sustainable Tourism at Humayun’s Tomb’. Speaking on the occasion Patel said, “India houses a repository of unique Intangible Cultural Heritage(ICH) traditions, 13 of which have also been recognized by UNESCO as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. The National ICH List is an attempt to recognise the diversity of Indian culture embedded in its intangible heritage. He said that It aims to raise awareness about the various intangible cultural heritage elements from different states of India at national and international level and ensure their protection. This initiative is also a part of the Vision 2024 of the Ministry of Culture.”
Patel also added, “Our tradition and culture is not only ancient but also invaluable. He further said that in the present crisis where the world and our country also is dealing with COVID-19, it is the values of humanity and warm hospitality of our heritage which define us and make us what we are. He alluded to the shloka ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbhakam’(the world is our family) from the Maha Upanishad wherein India’s spirit is demonstrated in its warmth and humility through the help extended to all tourists stranded in India.”
Following UNESCO’s 2003 Convention for Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage, this list has been classified into five broad domains in which intangible cultural heritage is manifested:
■ Oral traditions and expressions, including language as a vehicle of the intangible cultural heritage;
■ Performing arts;
■ Social practices, rituals and festive events;
■ Knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe;
■ Traditional craftsmanship.
The present items in the list have been collated from the projects sanctioned under the scheme for ‘Safeguarding the Intangible Cultural Heritage and Diverse Cultural Traditions of India’ formulated by the Ministry of Culture in 2013. As of now the list has more than 100elements, It also includes the 13 elements of India that have already been inscribed on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. This national list is a work in progress and may be considered as a draft version. M/o Culture endeavours to update it regularly. Thus, it welcomes suggestions/contributions/amendments to the present content from stakeholders and experts concerned with different intangible cultural heritage practices. Further information on how to contact M/o Culture for the same can be found on its website https://www.indiaculture.nic.in/national-list-intangible-cultural-heritage-ich
It is also hoped that with consultation from experts and other stakeholders like UNESCO, this list could also help strengthen the ICH inventory of India, which functions as a ‘tentative list’ for any potential inscriptions on the UNESCO list of Intangible Cultural Heritage.