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  • 08 Dec 2022 GS Paper 1 Indian Heritage & Culture

    Day 26

    Question 1. What do you understand by Intangible Cultural Heritage. Mention why Durga Puja has recently been included in the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity? (250 words).

    Question 2. What are the constitutional, legal, institutional measures for the protection of the Intangible and tangible Cultural Heritage of India?

    Answer 1


    • Introduce what do you understand by the Intangible Cultural heritage.
    • Discuss the reason why Durga Puja has been included in UNESCO list and the impact of its inclusion.
    • Conclude suitably


    • Intangible cultural heritage, according to UNESCO, is “traditional, contemporary and living at the same time”, “inclusive”, “representative”, and “community-based”. It is “an important factor in maintaining cultural diversity in the face of growing globalisation” — and “an understanding of the intangible cultural heritage of different communities helps with intercultural dialogue and encourages mutual respect for other ways of life”.


    • UNESCO established its lists of Intangible Cultural Heritage with the aim of ensuring the better protection of important intangible cultural heritages worldwide and to create awareness of their significance. As of 2010, the program has compiled two lists.
      • The Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
      • The List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding.
    • UNESCO's Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage puts “Durga Puja in Kolkata” on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. The other inclusion in the list are:
      • Koodiyattam (Sanskrit theatre), Ramlila and The Tradition in Vedic chanting (2008)
      • Ramman (2009)
      • Mudiyettu, Kalbelia and Chhau (2010)
      • Buddhist Chanting of Ladakh (2012)
      • Sankirtana (2013)
      • Traditional Brass and Copper craft of Utensil making among the Thatheras of Jandiala Guru in Punjab (2014)
      • Nuvroz and Yoga (2016)
      • Durga Puja in Kolkata (2017)
      • Kumbh Mela (2021)
    • Reasons for inclusion of “Durga Puja in Kolkata” in the list are:
      • It will offer encouragement to the local communities that celebrate Durga Puja, including all the traditional craftspeople, designers, artists, and organisers of large-scale cultural events, as well as tourists and visitors, etc.
        • Bengali community celebrates Durga Pujas globally not only in India.
      • Traditional, contemporary and living at the same time: It is not only inherited traditions from the past but also contemporary rural and urban practices in which diverse cultural groups take part.
      • Inclusive: Durga Puha in Kolkata does not give rise to questions of whether or not certain practices are specific to a culture. It contributes to social cohesion, encouraging a sense of identity and responsibility which helps individuals to feel part of one or different communities and to feel part of the society at large.
      • Representative: It thrives on its basis in communities and depends on those whose knowledge of traditions, skills and customs are passed on to the rest of the community, from generation to generation, or to other communities.
      • Community-based: Intangible cultural heritage can only be a heritage when it is recognized as such by the communities, groups or individuals that create, maintain and transmit it – without their recognition, nobody else can decide for them that a given expression or practice is their heritage.


    • It has boosted enthusiasm in the celebration of Kolkata’s Durga Puja after its inclusion as the 14th entry from India in UNESCO’s ‘Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity’ December 2021. Like most major festivals, Durga Puja is not just a cultural extravaganza; it is also an economic lifeline for West Bengal.

    Answer 2


    • Introduce India’s Cultural heritage in brief.
    • Discuss the constitutional, legal, institutional and policy/scheme-related measures for the protection of the Intangible and tangible Cultural Heritage of India.
    • Conclude suitably


    India has an immense wealth of tangible and intangible heritage ranging from monuments and architecture like the Taj, Ajanta and Buddhist stupa to intangible practices like Vedic Chanting, Painting and festivals like Nowruz. These cultural heritages are the results of the practice and dedication of the generations in evolving/discovering this practices & knowledge and preserving it for future generations.


    To preserve this knowledge and practices there are several constitutional, legal, institutional and policy/scheme related measures that have been taken by the India.

    The Constitutional Measures:

    • To protect and improve the environment and to safeguard forests and wildlife (Article 48 A). E.g., Khangchendzonga National Park a mixed UNESCO World Heritage Site.
    • To protect monuments, places and objects of artistic or historic interest which are declared to be of national importance (Article 49). E.g., Historic Sites of Ajanta and Ellora.
    • To foster respect for international law and treaty obligations (Article 51). E.g., UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage.
    • Instruction in mother tongue: It shall be the endeavour of every state and every local authority within the state to provide adequate facilities for instruction in the mother tongue at the primary stage of education to children belonging to linguistic minority groups (Article 350-A in Part XVII).
      • It is to preserve the intangible culture of linguistic diversity.
    • According to Article 51A, it shall be the duty of every citizen of India:
      • Article 51A (f): To value and preserve the rich heritage of the country’s composite culture.
      • Article 51A (g): To protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers and wildlife and to have compassion for living creatures.

    Legal Measures:

    • The Ancient and Historical Monument and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act (1951) has been enacted to protect the monuments, places and objects of national importance. E.g., Protection of Taj Mahal of Agra.
    • The Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999 seeks to provide for the registration and better protection of geographical indications relating to goods in India. It is governed and directed by the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS).
      • It protects various tangible cultural heritages like Chanderi Fabric, Mysore Silk, Kullu Shawl, Thanjavur Paintings, Lucknow Zardozi, Kashmir Saffron and Kashmir Walnut Wood Carving.

    Institutional Measures:

    • The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) is directly under the aegis of the Ministry of Culture, and it is the foremost institution for archaeological researches conducted across India.
      • Its focus is on the preservation of physical and tangible heritage that is accumulated in the ancient monuments and archaeological sites.
      • The provisions of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958, guide ASI. Another major legislation that directs the working of the ASI, is the Antiquities and Art Treasure Act, 1972
    • The Crafts Council of India or CCI is a non-profit organisation that promotes activities to preserve and develop handicraft industry in India. The Craft Fair Council is the main body behind organising the All-India Craft Fair.
    • Centre for Cultural Resources and Training (CCRT) for linking education with culture. It focuses on the students and creates an awareness amongst teachers, principals and non-teaching/ administrative actors about the multiplicity of regional cultures and languages in India.
    • The Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) is under the aegis of the Ministry of Culture and was established to conduct programmes that promote Indian culture on an international platform. They provide grants in support of programmes like the Jazz Festival in New Delhi, the North-East Music Festival in Guwahati, etc.
    • National Mission for Manuscripts (NMM): To create the ‘National Electronic Database’ of about one million manuscripts, which makes it the largest database of Indian manuscripts in the world. It has to train the coming generation of manuscript conservators through diploma and degree courses.

    Policy/Scheme Measures:

    • Adopt a Heritage’ Scheme-Apni Dharohar, Apni Pehchaan’ Project: It aims to involve public sector companies, private sector companies, and corporate citizens/individuals to take up the responsibility for making our heritage and tourism more sustainable.
    • Bhasha Sangam App: Bhasha Sangam App is a mobile application developed by the Ministry of Education in collaboration with MyGov India. It is to give people of India a sense of familiarity with the wide range of Indian languages and consequently preserve the regional languages and intangible culture related to them.
    • International Day of Yoga: Recognized by UN on the suggestion of India for the benefit of humanity.


    The tangible, intangible and cultural diversity of India is celebrated and recognized at the global stages. We have to adopt best global practices to preserve and maintain the specialty of the culture.

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