Indian masterpieces find place in UNESCO register

| | New Delhi
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Indian masterpieces find place in UNESCO register

Tuesday, 14 May 2024 | Archana Jyoti | New Delhi

Indian masterpieces find place in UNESCO register

Archana Jyoti

New Delhi

India's literary masterpieces 'Ramcharitmanas', 'Panchatantra', and 'Sahṛdayāloka-Locana' have earned a prestigious place in UNESCO's Memory of the World Asia-Pacific Regional Register, a significant acknowledgment of their cultural and historical importance.

Authored by Kashmiri poet Acharya Anandvardhan, Pandit Vishnu Sharma, and Hindu saint and poet Goswami Tulsidas respectively, these trio of iconic Indian literary works have left an enduring impact on readers and artists in India as well as worldwide.

In what is a proud moment for India, their inclusion in prestigious UNESCI register also adds a feather to the cap of the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA) which had played a crucial role in securing their inclusion at the 10th meeting of the Memory of the World Committee for Asia and the Pacific (MOWCAP) in Ulaanbatar in Mangolia.  It was hosted by the Ministry of Culture of Mongolia, the Mongolian National Commission for UNESCO, and the UNESCO Regional Office in Bangkok.

Significantly, this is the IGNCA’s first achievement at the Regional Register since its inception in 2008.

“Their inclusion in the register highlights their transcendent influence, which extends beyond borders and generations, shaping the moral fabric and artistic expressions of diverse cultures.

“This achievement highlights the timeless value and influence of these literary works, which have deeply impacted Indian literature and culture,” Professor Ramesh Chandra Gaur, Dean (Administration) and Head of the Department, Kala Nidhi Division at IGNCA told The Pioneer. He had presented these three entries from India, effectively defending the nominations at the UllanBatar convention.

At the gathering in Ulaanbaatar 38 representatives from member states convened alongside 40 observers and nominees, said an official from the IGNCA.

After undergoing rigorous deliberations and receiving recommendations from the Register Subcommittee, all three nominations secured inclusion, highlighting their significance in India's literary legacy.

Gaur added that their inclusion in UNESCO's register reaffirms India's rich literary heritage and underscores the importance of preserving and promoting such cultural treasures for future generations.

Authored by Goswami Tulsidas, 'Ramcharitmanas' is an epic poem that narrates the life of Lord Rama, a revered figure in Hindu mythology. It is written in the Awadhi dialect of Hindi, and is one of the most renowned works of devotional literature in India.  

'Ramcharitmanas' is not only a religious text but also a cultural symbol, influencing art, music, and literature across India. These were so far just within a reach of a few. But this is for the first time that the great works are being showcased to the world.

Likewise, 'Panchatantra', 15th centuary manuscript which is traditionally attributed to writer Vishnu Sharma is a collection of ancient Indian fables and moral stories. It is renowned for its wisdom and practical teachings, imparted through animal characters and their adventures. The 'Panchatantra' has been translated into numerous languages and has had a profound impact on storytelling traditions worldwide.

Authored by Kashmiri poet Acharya Anandvardhan, 'Sahṛdayāloka-Locana' is a significant literary work in the field of aesthetics and literary criticism. It provides insights into the principles of Sanskrit poetics and analyzes various aspects of literary composition. It has contributed to the understanding and appreciation of Sanskrit literature and aesthetics.

“By honouring these literary masterpieces, the world not only paying homage to the creative genius of their creators from India but also ensures that their profound wisdom and timeless teachings continue to inspire and enlighten future generations,” added Gaur.

According to the UNESCO website, genealogical records were especially notable among 2024 inscriptions, with Mongolia’s Family Chart of Hereditary Lords of the Khalkha Mongols, the House of Genghis Khan; as well as the communities of Huizhou in China, and Kedah State in Malaysia, as testaments to the importance of collating regional family histories.


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