Srinagar earns UNESCO’s creative tag

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”We prepared the dossier to highlight the genuineness of Srinagar’s claim to be recognised as an UNESCO heritage city…reports Asian Lite News.

J&K’s Srinagar city on Monday made it to the prestigious list of UNESCO creative cities network for 2021, for craft and folk art.

This was announced by UNESCO on its official website on Monday wherein 49 cities have joined the elite list.

“We have been trying to find a place for Srinagar city in the UNESCO list for the last four years,” Saleem Beg, convener of the J&K chapter of INTACH (Indian National Trust For Art And Cultural Heritage) told.

“We prepared the dossier to highlight the genuineness of Srinagar’s claim to be recognised as an UNESCO heritage city.

“The dossier went to UNESCO where it was thoroughly scrutinised. Then they sent us a list of queries which had to be replied in detail.

“In addition to this, there was a lot of bureaucratic process that had to be completed before we got the final recognition,” he added.

Beg said Srinagar had missed its place in the list in 2019 by a whisker.

“We were left out the last time in 2019 because we lost the slot to Film City in Hyderabad. This time there were two cities running in close competition for the prestigious place – Srinagar and Gwalior. UNESCO has finally decided to select Srinagar this time,” he said.

Beg credits the success of this effort to the team of local craftsmen and folk artists whose work has finally got global recognition.

Asked about what does the recognition mean in terms of advantage to the local crafts and folk art, he said: “It is a recognition of not only for our crafts and folk arts, but for Srinagar city as such.

“It is a global recognition towards which the world looks with interest. Our crafts and folk art are not something that has fossilised. These are growing and dynamic arts.

“The recognition will definitely give us a marketing edge.”

This year, the exercise of the dossier’s preparation began in the month of May. The Union Culture Ministry received four nominations – two from Madhya Pradesh (Gwalior and Indore), one from West Bengal (Kolkata) and one from J&K (Srinagar).

The Centre, however, rejected the application of Kolkata and Indore and forwarded only two nominations – Srinagar and Gwalior.

It recommended the nomination of Gwalior as creative city of music and Srinagar for creative city of craft and folk arts to UNESCO on June 29.

The announcements were finally made on Monday, rejecting the nomination of Gwalior and accepting that of Srinagar.

Month-long celebratory events

Junaid Azim Mattu, mayor of J&K’s Srinagar municipal corporation (SMC) said on Tuesday that month-long celebratory events will be held to celebrate the UNESCO tag of creative city for Srinagar.

Speaking to the media, the mayor called it the biggest day for the entire Srinagar district.

Mattu said that serious efforts have been made by everyone concerned to ensure that Srinagar achieves this milestone.

“We have achieved this milestone after a lot of hardwork and dedication. We have been pursuing this since 2018 and finally after the hard work and serious efforts by SMC Commissioner and other officers concerned, we have finally achieved the milestone. It is the biggest day for whole Srinagar”, Mattu said.

UNESCO on Monday included Srinagar as a creative city for its craft and folk art. In the final list, Srinagar had to closely compete with Gwalior for this year’s slot in the UNESCO list.

The Dossier for Srinagar’s claim was prepared by the J&K chapter of INTACH (Indian national trust for culture and heritage) with the assistance of other concerned agencies.

Saleem Beg, convener of J&K chapter of INTACH said the effort to get Srinagar its UNESCO recognition was started four years back.

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