The policy document, drafted by a panel headed by P.T. Thomas, MP, would be submitted to Minister for Cultural Affairs K.C. Joseph, who had taken the lead for formulation of a new cultural policy some six months ago.

The draft cultural policy of the United Democratic Front (UDF), ready for submission to the government on Monday, seeks to free the realm of culture from ‘unilateralism and hegemonic tendencies,’ provide greater autonomy to cultural institutions, and proposes formation of a State-level advisory council on culture comprising eminent cultural practitioners.

The policy document, drafted by a panel headed by P.T. Thomas, MP, would be submitted to Minister for Cultural Affairs K.C. Joseph, who had taken the lead for formulation of a new cultural policy some six months ago.

The document, finalised at a meeting of the drafting panel here the other day, wants the government to refrain from direct interventions in the functioning of cultural institutions. It has, alternatively, proposed a monitoring mechanism to ensure that the cultural institutions discharged their duties with responsibility and commitment.

The advisory council on culture proposed by it would have around 25 members chosen from among the best in the various cultural domains with a tenure of three years.

The draft policy proposes several steps to foster the learning of Malayalam, including institution of fellowships to encourage non-Malayalam speakers, particularly foreigners, to learn the language and an annual award, named after Herman Gundert, for the best translation from Malayalam. There is also a proposal for setting up a State-level centre for documenting various art forms and to establish cultural villages in different parts of the State.

Residential programmes to encourage creative use of cultural spaces and encouragement of the traditional residential teaching and learning methods, particularly in the case of traditional and folk art forms, have also been proposed.

Among the other significant proposals in the draft policy is one to make cultural studies part of the curriculum from an early stage and to elevate Kalamandalam to the status of a university to which all institutions teaching music and art would in course of time be affiliated and where training in theatre and various traditional art forms also be imparted.