[Arts & Heritage Institutions #4] ICCR and ICHR


So far in Art & Heritage Institution series, we’ve learnt about institutions that preserve our heritage and promote our diverse arts- at the national level. But one of India’s key asset globally is its “soft-power” or Cultural diplomacy which involves the use of cultural influence.

In this post, we will learn about those Institutions that enable India to exert such influence.



  • ICCR is analogous to the British Council, France’s Alliance Francaise, Germany’s Goethe-Institut and China’s Confucius Institute
  • Founded in 1950 by Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, independent India’s first Education Minister
    • Maulana also helped establish other institutions that we’ve covered previously in this series such as Sahitya Akademi, and Sangeet Natak Akademi. He also founded Lalit Kala Akademi <promotes Visual Arts- Folk and Contemporary>
  • Soft power vision, ‘to promote a communion of cultures and a creative dialogue among nations.’
  • Its broad mandate is to develop relations with:
    • Other countries and peoples (Cultural agreements with 72 countries)
    • National and inter-national organisations in the field of culture

General assembly

  • Consists of representatives each of the Lalit Kala Akademi, Sahitya Akademi and Sangeet Natak Akademi
  • Eminent artistes from the fields of performing, fine and plastic arts
  • Representatives of universities or of institutions
  • President shall be appointed by the President of India and shall hold office for three years


1. Exhibitions

  • Organizing various Foreign film festivals
  • Sponsors individual performers in dance, music, photography, theatre, and the visual arts. Here it collaborates with Sangeet Natak Akademi, Lalit Kala Akademi and other such institutions.

2. Academic

  • Council sends visiting professors to collaborate in the teaching and research programmes of foreign universities relating to Indian studies and Indian languages

3. Scholarships

  • 6252 foreign students are studying in Indian Universities and other Institutions on scholarship provided by ICCR
  • ICCR has 20 Regional Offices (ROs) to look after the welfare of foreign students.
  • India-Africa Relationship: ICCR offered 900 scholarships around 54 countries of Africa in the past decade.

4. Promotion of Indology

  • ICCR has helped fund programmes on Indology in Russia at the University of Moscow. It is one of the key element of Indo-Russian diplomatic goodwill.
  • Indology is the study of the history and cultures, languages, and literature of the Indian subcontinent, especially Ancient India (Vedic studies et al)

5. Promoting Hindi <which Article in our Constitution mandates this?>

  • ICCR, carries out various activities to popularize and promote Hindi language in other countries
  • Chairs of hindi language in universities
  • Translating works of World Literature into Hindi and other Indian languages
  • Translation of Sanskrit and Hindi classics into foreign languages
  • Celebration of the ‘‘World Hindi day” on 10th of January every year (across the world along with Ministry of External Affairs)
    • Trap Info: A different occasion- National Hindi Divas is celebrated in India on September 14 every year to mark the day on which the Constituent Assembly adopted Hindi as the “Official” Language of the Union.
  • Bi-monthly Hindi journal – “Gagananchal

6. Notable Publications

  • Indian Horizons in English
  • Africa Quarterly in English

Comparison between China’s Confucius Institute (CI) and ICCR:

  • In ICCR’s 64 years of existence it has only 37 overseas centres, while today there are over 480 CIs having started in 2004 only.
  • CIs function inside established universities, colleges and schools world over <ICCR can also follow this strategy to increase penetration>
  • Unlike CI, ICCR is autonomous body
  • India can learn from CI and help promote Yoga through ICCR’s extensive network in over 90 countries.


  • Established by an Executive Order
  • Disburses “funds” for carrying out research to indian and foreign scholars
  • Aid received from the Department of Higher Education in the MoHRD <NOT Ministry of Culture>

Objective: National direction to an objective and Scientific writing of history


  • Eminent historian nominated by the Government
  • Representative of the UGC
  • Director General of the Archaeological Survey of India <Logo- Sanchi Stupa + Emblem>
  • Director General of the National Archives of India


  1. Indian Historical Review (bi-annually)
  2. Itihas (in Hindi)


Published with inputs from Amar 
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By B2B

Revisiting the Basics

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