State to push for intangible cultural heritage tag for Mysuru Dasara

The Dasara paintings at the Mysuru Palace depict the grandeur of the festival which has a tradition of over 400 years.   | Photo Credit: M.A. SRIRAM

Fresh efforts will be initiated to secure UNESCO’s intangible cultural heritage tag for Mysuru Dasara given its historicity and continuity.

The issue is being seriously promoted by the Department of Archaeology Museums and Heritage, Government of Karnataka, which has resolved to complete the groundwork and prepare the documentation required for the purpose.

This was also one of the resolutions passed in the heritage committee meeting held in December last year but the pandemic broke out soon after, bringing all activities to a halt.

N.S. Rangaraju, convenor of INTACH, Mysuru, and one of the members of the heritage committee, told The Hindu that this is a long-pending issue and should be taken to its logical end.

“Though our traditions such as Navaratri and Dasara don’t need anyone’s stamp of approval, securing the intangible cultural heritage tag will put Mysuru on the global map of tourism as a centre for art and culture besides helping promote the State’s culture at a global level’’, he said.

UNESCO has described intangible cultural heritage as ‘’practices, representations, expressions, knowledge, skills – as well as the instruments, objects, artefacts and cultural spaces associated therewith – that communities, groups and, in some cases, individuals recognise as part of their cultural heritage’’. ‘

It also states that “intangible cultural heritage, transmitted from generation to generation, is constantly recreated by communities and groups in response to their environment, their interaction with nature and their history, and provides them with a sense of identity and continuity, thus promoting respect for cultural diversity and human creativity’’.

UNESCO lists oral traditions and expressions, including language as a vehicle of the intangible cultural heritage; performing arts; social practices, rituals and festive events; traditional craftsmanship etc as forms of intangible cultural heritage.

At present tradition of Vedic chanting, Ramleela, chanting of Buddhist hymns in the Ladakh region, Yoga, Kumbh Mela, Navrouz, and Kutiyattam (Kerala’s Sanskrit theatre) are among the 12 traditions recognised as intangible cultural heritage.

There is a general perception that intangible heritage inscription for Dasara celebrations can also help promote greater pride in the city and its traditions. Prof. Rangaraju said it will also give a fresh thrust to the preservation of local traditions and cultural practices besides an increased visibility and spotlight on Mysuru.

Also, inscribing Dasara as an intangible cultural heritage will reinforce the sense of belonging and ownership which people of the State display towards the tradition which has been documented by medieval travellers including Domingos Paes and Fernao Nuniz of Portugal.

Celebrated in different ways across the country, Dasara in Mysuru is a legacy of the Vijayanagar emperors who ruled south India from 1336 CE to 1646 CE and extended State patronage to the cultural and religious tradition of the people. These practices were inherited by the Wadiyars of Mysuru and the festival is now celebrated as Nada Habba or People’s Festival.

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Printable version | Nov 24, 2020 9:33:08 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/state-to-push-for-intangible-cultural-heritage-tag-for-mysuru-dasara/article32922264.ece

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