NEW DELHI: Unesco has added Durga Puja to its “Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity”
The decision was taken during the sixteenth session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage that is currently under way.
Prime Minister Modi, reacting to the development called it “A matter of great pride and joy for every Indian.”
Unesco established its Lists of Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2008 with the aim of ensuring better protection of important intangible cultural heritages worldwide and the awareness of their significance.
The Committee examines requests submitted by states for the inscription of intangible heritage on the lists as well as proposals for programmes and projects. Kolkata’s Durga Puja was India’s submission for the list this year.
“Durga Puja is seen as the best instance of the public performance of religion and art, and as a thriving ground for collaborative artists and designers,” Unesco wrote on its site.
The Committee commended Durga Puja for its initiatives to involve marginalized groups, and individuals as well as women in their participation.
Durga Puja in Kolkata is marked by idols of the Mother Goddess Durga installed in thousands of decorated pavilions erected across the city.
“During the event, the divides of class, religion and ethnicities collapse as crowds of spectators walk around to admire the installations,” Unesco further added.
India now has 14 intangible cultural heritage elements on the Unesco list. Other Indian entries that were previously inscribed include Nowrouz (2016), Ramlila (2008), Yoga (2016) and Kumbh Mela (2017).