UNESCO Designates Srinagar as ‘Creative City’

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PM Narendra Modi said it is fitting recognition for the vibrant cultural ethos of Srinagar, reports Asian Lite News

In a major recognition of the crafts and arts of Jammu and Kashmir, Srinagar has joined the UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN) 2021, under the Crafts and Folk Arts category.

The inclusion of Srinagar in the creative city network for the arts and crafts has paved a way for the city to represent its handicrafts on the global stage through UNESCO.

This was announced on UNESCO’s official website wherein 49 cities have joined this elite list. The exercise for UNESCO nomination was started by Jammu and Kashmir in 2018 however our nomination was not accepted then.

This year the exercise of Dossier preparation began in the month of May. The government of India Ministry of Culture received four nominations which included Two from Madhya Pradesh Gwalior and Indore and one from West Bengal (Calcutta ) and one from Jammu and Kashmir (Srinagar).

Srinagar
Houseboats and ‘shikaras’ anchored on the banks of Dal Lake, in Srinagar.(Photo: IANS)

The government of India rejected the application of Calcutta and Indore and forwarded only two nominations which included Srinagar and Gwalior. The Centre recommended the nomination of Gwalior for the Creative City of Music and Srinagar for the Creative City of Craft and Folk arts to UNESCO on June 29, 2021.

The nomination of Gwalior was rejected and that of Srinagar was accepted. This nomination is the global recognition of the rich craft legacy of Srinagar and will help us in attracting Craft Connoisseurs to Jammu and Kashmir and particularly Srinagar.

The UNESCO creative city network involves seven creative fields arts and folk art, media, film, literature, design, gastronomy and Media arts.

The dossier for nomination for Srinagar as the Creative city was first filed by Srinagar in the year 2019, however, only 2 cities, Hyderabad for Gastronomy and Mumbai for Film were chosen during that year.

Prior to the year 2019, only three Indian cities have been recognised as members of UCCN for creative cities namely, Jaipur (Crafts and Folk Arts) in 2015, Varanasi (Creative city of Music) in 2015 and Chennai (Creative city of Music) in 2017. For the year 2020 UNESCO did not call for applications for creative city network.

A Man pluck damage Apple from tree after Fresh snowfall from last night at Shopian in Jammu and Kashmir (Photo: Nisar Malik /IANS)

Chief Executive Officer, Jhelum Tawi Flood Recovery Project, JKERA, Dr Abid Rashid Shah, said that process of nomination of Srinagar under the UNESCO Creative City Network was undertaken and funded under the World Bank Funded Jhelum Tawi Flood Recovery Project. This is the recognition of the historical Crafts and Arts of the City.

“It is a proud moment for all of us. World Bank, Jhelum and Tawi Flood Recovery Project (JTFRP) and Department of Industries did a remarkable job in projecting the city in this regard,” said Dr Shah.

Director, Technical, Planning and Coordination, JTFRP, Iftikhaar Hakeem, said that credit must go to JTFRP, Department of Industries and line departments for taking up the task positively. He said consultants were hired and work was taken up in this regard to fulfilling all the requirements.

Modi congratulates people

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday congratulated the people of Jammu and Kashmir for Srinagar joining the UNESCO Creative Cities Network with a special mention for its craft and folk art.

He said it is fitting recognition for the vibrant cultural ethos of Srinagar.
“Delighted that beautiful Srinagar joins the @UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN) with a special mention for its craft and folk art. It is a fitting recognition for the vibrant cultural ethos of Srinagar. Congratulations to the people of Jammu and Kashmir,” the Prime Minister said in a tweet.

Jammu and Kashmir Lt Governor Manoj Sinha said that the decision was ultimate recognition for artisans and weavers of Jammu and Kashmir.
He extended congratulations to entire J-K team including Srinagar Mayor Junaid Mattu and Commissioner, Srinagar Municipal Corporation Athar Aamir Khan.

“Srinagar included in @UNESCO Creative Cities Network in the crafts &folk art category. It is ultimate recognition for artisans & weavers of J&K. Congratulations to entire J&K team, @Junaid_Mattu Ji, @AtharAamirKhan & thanks to @EduMinOfIndia, @MinOfCultureGoI for all the support,” he said.

Sinha said that Prime Minister had always given special priority to Jammu and Kashmir.

“Grateful to Hon’ble PM @narendramodi for always giving special priority to J&K. Dossier of exceptionally rich art & craft legacy of Srinagar was meticulously prepared & submitted in June this year by @SMC_Srinagar with help of Kashmir INTACH,” he said. (ANI)

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