To commemorate International Women’s Day, the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts is hosting a week-long extravaganza at its Janpath premises here beginning this Friday to acknowledge and highlight Indian women’s multifarious contributions in enriching our cultural heritage.

To be inaugurated by Union Culture Minister Chandresh Kumari Katoch, “Bhumika: Role of Women in Cultural Heritage”seeks to bring into the national mainstream the unsung tribal women who work dutifully behind the scenes. The event will shift the focus on these women as they are playing a crucial role in ensuring that their families live with dignity and are resuscitating the dying art forms of their States.

According to Dipali Khanna of IGNCA, women have played an intrinsic role in the cultural trajectory our country has followed. “In preserving the social and cultural fabric of the country women have been playing a significant role which needs to be acknowledged.”

Pointing out that the all-women extravaganza has been designed to give maximum exposure to women artistes hailing from tribal communities of different States, Ms. Khanna said all programmes at the week-long event are related the women folk. “Women tribal artistes segregated into five dozen groups will demonstrate the art of creating handcrafted products. The idea is to provide them a platform so that they get integrated into the national mainstream. We will also see music and dance performances by 125 women from the North-East.”

Noting that Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalaya based in Bhopal was involved in the process of selecting the tribal artistes, the IGNCA Member Secretary said IGRMS had a big display of tribal art forms.

“Bhumika: Role of Women in Cultural Heritage”will see women artistes from across the country demonstrating their art and craft in a series of skills including wood-carving, painting, clay modelling and basketry. While noted scholar of art and classical dance forms Kapila Vatsyayan, who was IGNCA’s founding director in her previous avatar, will deliver a talk on “Continuity in Indian Civilisation – Role of Women”, a lecture on “Songs of the Women Seers of India” will be delivered by Subhadra Desai.

Delhi-based cartoonist Irfan Khan has produced three dozen caricatures on the horrendous practice of female foeticide.

“This exhibition was earlier mounted at a gallery in Madhya Pradesh and recently at Poorva Sanskritik Kendra in East Delhi. With the increasing number of cases of female foeticide, there are cities and towns in Haryana and Punjab where women of marriageable age are hard to find. Despite the fact that women are leading in every field, we still have parents living in cosmopolitan cities who want to get an ultrasound done so that they can abort the female child.” says Irfan.

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