India Holds Celebrations to Mark Inclusion of Durga Puja in UNESCO List

India held a celebration here on Saturday to mark the UNESCO tag bestowed on Kolkata’s Durga puja festival last December, as it reaffirmed its commitment to protecting and preserving the rich intangible cultural heritage.

The event was held at the National Museum here in the presence of senior UNESCO officials, who praised India for its iconic and historical monuments as well as its rich and diverse living heritage.

The Intergovernmental Committee of UNESCO’s 2003 Convention on the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage had added Durga Puja in Kolkata to its Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity last December.

It received the honor at its 16th session held in Paris, France.

The Committee commended Durga Puja for her initiatives to involve marginalized groups, individuals as well as women in their participation in safeguarding the element.

Lily Pandeya, co-secretary of the Ministry of Culture, who hosted the event, said: ”We are gathered here to celebrate the inscription of Durga Puja on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity of the ‘UNESCO, which is the 14th ICH element to be inscribed on the list”.

The 10-day festival which will start from the last week of next month represents the feminine ”shakti’ (power)”.

In her address, she highlighted the “time-tested friendship” between India and UNESCO, and traced the country’s association with the world from its earliest days.

India was recently elected as a member of UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage.

UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage Secretary, Tim Curtis, and Director and UNESCO Representative for the UNESCO Office in New Delhi, Eric Falt, were present on the stage during the event.

”India offers perhaps more intangible cultural heritage practices than any other country in the world. And many of them need to be protected. At UNESCO, we work closely with the Government of India in the preservation of monuments and intangible cultural heritage, which tourists often miss or are not very aware of,’ Falt said in his speech.

And, the recent inclusion of Durga Puja in UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, shows how all stakeholders have come together.

A capacity building workshop on the safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage (ICH) was also launched on this occasion.

This event also kicks off a year-long capacity series featuring ICH-related workshops, activities and programs, Pandeya said.

“Diverse cultures, traditions and rich ethos! India’s rich heritage is unparalleled in the world. Being one of the earliest signatories of the Convention for the Safeguarding of ICH, India is constantly promoting ways to showcase its living heritage,” the culture ministry tweeted.

A dance performance by a Durga Puja-themed troupe was also held during the event.

(This story has not been edited by the Devdiscourse team and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)