It was in December 2021 when extreme hard work and dedication of certain authorities led to the Durga Puja festival being recognized by The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in their Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity list (ICH).
How Did It happen?
Getting Kolkata’s famous festival, Durga Puja recognized by UNESCO was only possible because of the blood and sweat of all the stakeholders who have made sure to make Durga Puja a grand celebration.
With Durga Puja being added to UNESCO’s ICH list, India now has a total of 14 Intangible Cultural Heritage components added to the list. Before Durga Puja, in 2016 and 2017, Yoga and Kumbh Mela made it to UNESCO’s ICH list, respectively.
The UNESCO nodal agency and the Ministry of Culture were also involved in preparing documentation for inscriptions on the UNESCO list. At the same time, the Ministry of External Affairs sought international assistance in getting the proposal approved by UNESCO. Finally, the dossier for Durga Puja was prepared and sent to UNESCO with the assistance of the Ministry of Culture’s Sangeet Natak Akademi.
Why Is It A Great Deal?
According to UNESCO, the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity list consists of unique oral traditions, performing arts, and rituals that hold great importance and relevance for certain particular communities.
ICH is a long list of traditions that aren’t just culturally important but have certain knowledge, know-how, and skills attached to it which get transferred from one generation to another.
Historian Who Got Us The ICH Tag
Tapati Guha-Thakurta wrote a book called “In the Name of the Goddess: The Durga Pujas of Contemporary Kolkata” in 2015. In the book, she traced the evolution of the Durga puja including religious, creative, cultural, and social-economic facets of the grand festival.
With this recognition, UNESCO added the Durga Puja to its list of Intangible Cultural Heritage in December 2021. Guha-Thakurta was the historian chosen by the Ministry of Culture to highlight the 10-day festival’s multi-layered, dynamic, and integral role in Kolkata’s socio-cultural and political landscape.
The Durga Puja holds great importance for people all around India. However, ladies in West Bengal are the most excited about the festival as they get to visit various pandals during the festival.
Definitely, Durga Puja getting recognized at a global level by UNESCO is a moment of pride and wouldn’t have been possible without the hard work of all the people who have made this possible.
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This post is tagged under: Durga Puja, Durga Pujo, Durga utsav, Durga puja pandal, UNESCO, UN, United Nations, heritage, culture, Bengal Durga puja
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