National Museum begins documenting heritage

New Delhi
New Delhi, Oct 22: The National Museum Institute here has launched a project on researching and cataloging various forms of performing and fine arts of the country. Pilot projects in the plains of western Uttar Pradesh and mountains of Ladakh have been initiated by the institute's Department of Museology, which has begun developing an inventory on the intangible cultural heritage from across the country, say museum officials.

"We have started listing the intangible cultural heritage elements of these two regions. They will be the models for other such studies," said Director General Venu V of the National Museum under which NMI functions.

To begin with, the institute organised a community-led event at Sikhera village off Meerut and Gaya on the highest plateau in Jammu and Kashmir, he said in a statement. The day-long workshops, which aimed at exploring the range and nature of ICH in Indian context, was held late last week, setting off a series of endeavours such as testing the forms and formats for the country’s cultural domain, said Dr Venu.

The events in both places were held on October 17, coinciding with the 10th anniversary of signing of UNESCO’s Paris convention for safeguarding ICH. NMI Assistant Professor Manvi Seth, said that the institute, which was set up in 1989, engaged high-school students from the region and facilitated their interaction with the elders of the socio-ethnic belt.

“The basic aim is to make these students aware of and interested in the activity. We are creating an opportunity for them to learn something from their cultural environment,” she added. At Sikhera, NMI organised a programme of live creation of the living tradition of Sanjhi—-a set of design patterns of traditional motifs created for various ceremonies, festivals and life-cycle occasions.

Sanjhi is a living traditional art-form prevalent not just in Western Uttar Pradesh, but in other parts of the country as well, Prof Seth said. “We hosted a demonstration of the creation of art forms, and laced it with narration of stories, besides associated myths and legends,” she said. 


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