From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Intangible Cultural Heritages in India
Mains level : Not Much
UNESCO has inscribed ‘Durga Puja in Kolkata’ on the Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
What is Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH)?
- ICH means the practices, representations, expressions, knowledge, skills – as well as the instruments, objects, artefacts and cultural spaces associated with them that communities, groups and, in some cases, individuals recognize as a part of their cultural heritage.
- Furthermore, its importance is not in the cultural manifestation itself, but in the wealth of knowledge, know-how and skills that are transmitted from one generation to the next.
About Durga Puja
- Durga Puja, also known as Durgotsava or Sharodotsava, is an annual Hindu festival that reveres and pays homage to the goddess Durga.
- It is an important festival in the Shaktism tradition of Hinduism.
- It is celebrated because of Durga’s victory over Mahishasur.
- It is particularly popular and traditionally celebrated in the Indian states of West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand, and Odisha among other states.
- It is a ten-day festival, of which the last five are of the most significance.
Citation for the UNESCO tag
- The UNESCO Committee commended its initiatives to involve marginalized groups, and individuals as well as women in their participation in safeguarding the element.
- The festival is also marked by scripture recitations, performance arts, revelry, gift-giving, family visits, feasting, and public processions.
- Durga Puja not only is a celebration of the feminine divinity but is a consummate expression of dance, music, crafts, rituals, practices culinary and cultural aspects.
- The festival transcends the boundaries of caste, creed and economic classes and joins the people together in its celebration.
Other ICH in India
- With the inscription of Durga Puja in Kolkata, India now has 14 intangible cultural heritage elements on the prestigious UNESCO Representative List of ICH of Humanity.
- In recent years, the ICH elements that saw inscriptions are Kumbh Mela (inscribed 2017), Yoga (inscribed 2016) among others.
- Also, India is a SIGNATORY of the 2003 UNESCO Convention which aims for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Heritage along with traditions and living expression.