By Gururaj Rao:
It is the duty of every citizen to value and preserve the rich heritage of our composite culture. The art and culture of our nation are a vast continuum, evolving incessantly since time immemorial. Naturally, preservation and conservation of India’s rich cultural heritage and promotion of all forms of art and culture, both tangible and intangible, including monuments and archaeological sites, anthropology and ethnology, folk and tribal arts, literature and handicrafts, performingÂ art of music-dance-drama and visual arts of paintings-sculpture-graphics is essential and assumes a lot of importance.
Thus, in a broader sense, cultural activities address issues pertaining to national identity in conjunction with various sectors such as education, tourism, textiles, external relations etc. Since the time of independence, the crux of all culture development plans have been the preservation of cultural heritage with greater emphasis on the thread of continuity which has resulted in the binding of dissimilarities into a synergistic whole.Â The main goal has always been establishment of cultural institutions in the field of archaeology, anthropology and ethnography, archives, libraries, museums, and performing arts including academics.
Due to the two UNESCO Conventions, one ‘to safeguard and protect Intangible Heritage’ and the other on ‘Cultural Diversity’, the government has initiated proactive measures to safeguard and protect cultural diversity and the various expressions of intangible heritage facing the risk of disappearance. The upkeep and maintenance of museums and archaeological sites will considerably improve with the introduction of modern technology and redeployment of existing staff. To start with, security services have already been outsourced and the possibility for outsourcing in areas like consultancy and maintenance needs to be examined in detail. Publication through private sector should be encouraged as they have all the modern technology and know-how to produce the best from the worst. Repository work is obviously very well done by the private sector. As the Ministry of Culture has been facing recurrent cuts in outlay due to poor spending during the first two quarters, proper expenditure planning in the field of art and culture, several schemes are being implemented without assessing the process and impact.
Implementation of the following strategies may help in the process of preservation (source: The Planning Commission Documentations for the development or youth affairs, sports, art and culture)–
– Tapping of the Public —Private Partnership models for sustenance of Arts and Crafts.
– Greater involvement of universities in schemes promoting arts and culture as well as inclusion of Fine Arts as a subject in universities.
– Promoting Hindi and getting it recognized as a UN language.
– Protection of monuments
– Preserving and properly promoting India’s rich intangible cultural heritage by inventorizing and documenting oral traditions, indigenous knowledge systems, guru-shishya systems, folklores and tribal and oral traditions and also extending patronage to various dance forms like Bihu, Bhangra, Nautanki, Dandiya and other folk dances besides classical forms
– Setting up at least one museum in each district with different chambers for visual and other forms of art, architecture, science, history and geography with regional flavour.
– Enhancing assimilative capabilities in order to adapt to emergent challenges of globalization and technological innovations.
– Promoting regional languages
– Making cultural and creative industries work in tandem for growth and employment.
– Generating demand for cultural goods and services as a matter of sustenance rather than patronage, thus bringing out the art and culture sector in the public domain.
– The promotion of export of cultural goods and services for taking the country in the list of first 20 countries ranked by UNESCO for export of culture.
– Recognizing ‘cultural heritage tourism’ as an upcoming industry by building cultural resources with an adaptation of scientific and technological knowledge to local circumstances as well as forming partnerships between local and global bodies.
– Making possible the infusion of knowledge capital in cultural institutions by flexible engagements.
Image courtesy: http://www.daijiworld.com/chan/exclusive_arch.asp?ex_id=881