Capturing the milestones India has achieved in its journey of 75 years since Independence, software giant Google on Friday unveiled a vibrant online project drawing from rich archives and featuring artistic illustrations to tell the story of the country.
Named 'India ki Udaan', the project executed by Google Arts & Culture celebrates the country's achievements and is "themed on the unwavering and undying spirit of India over these past 75 years".
The project was officially launched at a glittering event held at the Sunder Nursery here in the presence of Union Culture and Tourism Minister G Kishan Reddy and senior officials of the Culture Ministry and Google.
As part of the countrywide celebrations, Google also announced its collaboration with the Ministry of Culture focused "on reaching informative online content that showcases the contributions of Indians and the evolution of India since 1947 to support the Government's year-long 'Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav' programme", the search giant said in a statement.
It also announced that its popular Doodle4Google contest for 2022, themed on 'In the next 25 years, my India will …', is now open for entries to students of classes 1-10.
"The winner of this year's Doodle4Google will see their artwork on the Google homepage in India on November 14, and win a Rs 5,00,000 college scholarship, a Rs 2,00,000 technology package for their school/non-profit organisation, a recognition of achievement, Google hardware, and fun Google collectibles. Four group winners and 15 finalists will also win exciting prizes," it said in the statement.
Reddy, in his address, urged the Google team to create a special doodle on 'Har Ghar Tiranga', which would encourage its employees and others to also enthusiastically take part in the campaign.
In his speech, he also said Google could help the Culture Ministry in digital mapping of the boundaries of its over 3,000 centrally protected monuments that will help in better monitoring of the sites and checking encroachment.
It can also help in digitisation of rare archival material, he said.
"Therefore, we urge Google team to be a partner in the government's transformative journey, as also promote India's tourism destinations," Reddy said.
The government issued a statement later saying the event was a continuation of the decade-long partnership between the Ministry of Culture and Google. This joint venture was organised under the aegis of 'Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav'.
"India today is in the middle of digital, data and disintermediation revolution. Digital revolution coupled with ease of doing business has allowed common Indian citizens to avail of services in a faceless, presence less and cashless manner," Reddy was quoted as saying in the statement.
"India has made available data at one of the lowest rates to users due to a proactive government policy is ushering in competition in the telecom sector and the disintermediation revolution has removed middle-men making India's small businesses competitive and export ready," he said.
The Google statement said, "To mark 75 years of India's independence, Google today announced the launch of a series of special initiatives across its products and services that will offer content and experiences created especially for the occasion to hundreds of millions of Indians through the anniversary year."
The centrepiece of its celebrations is a new online collection titled 'India Ki Udaan' available on the Google Arts & Culture website. The collection pays tribute to India's rich cultural history and includes iconic moments from the last 75 years for people to relive, experience, and be inspired by, it said.
Published in English and Hindi, it allows anyone to explore more than 120 illustrations and 21 stories created by 10 talented artists, alongside exhibitions from various institutions across India — including the Ministry of Tourism, Museum of Art & Photography, Heritage Directorate of the Indian Railways, the Indian Academy of Sciences and Dastkari Haat Samiti.
"This initiative offers a unique view of India's remarkable moments and lets people discover some of the most memorable moments in India's modern history, its iconic personalities, its proudest scientific and sporting achievements, and how women in India continue to inspire the world. This commemorative collection will be expanded with a unique blend of archives and artistry for people in India and across the globe," it added.
Merging technologies and India's rich cultural heritage, the new Google Arts & Culture collection, 'India Ki Udaan', (literally translated as “India takes flight”), "is themed on the unwavering and undying spirit of India over these past 75 years," Google said.
Simon Rein, senior program manager at Google Arts and Culture, told PTI that the 'India ki Udaan' project "marries the rich archival content with artistic talent as demonstrated by illustrators".
A physical representations of the new digital collection was also set up at the venue, with kite-shaped digital screen, pictures with augmented reality experience, and other tech-driven experiences.
In its 10th year in India, Google Arts & Culture has showcased India's rich culture in many ways. Working with over 100 partners in India, it has brought India's cultural heritage to people all around the world.