Art plays a crucial role in shaping and renewing culture: it reflects who we are where we came from and how our future is going to be shaped culturally! It creates memory and inspires us to act in a certain way. Culture is the source of our identities, providing a set of values on which to base our lives and a frame of reference for our actions. The diversity of cultures is a source of creativity, innovation, and renewal and is vital for the continuity of human development. Art is the human creation that is appealing to our finer senses; while a craft is a skill, which was a need and then a form of expression, especially the performing arts. India has an abundance of both. Arts and crafts define the cultural layers of the country, community, and race. As a multicultural nation it has a huge variety of different traditions.Each area of the subcontinents has varied arts and crafts. The use of terracotta began around 5000 years ago and still have excellent craftsmanship in the country.
This is the land where classical melodies merge seamlessly with a mesmerising mosaic of exquisite paintings, ancient weaves and other handicrafts, divine dance forms, fascinating festivals and scintillating sculptures, India is a vibrant potpourri of arts and crafts. With each of its states and union territories bursting with ethnic flavours that multiply at every turn, the country sparkles with vitality and vivacity.
Be it the gorgeous and remarkably intricate Bidriware in Bidar or the beautiful pink-kissed meenakari jewellery of Agra city, the roots of these crafts are embedded in various eras of history. While the premium heavy-weight silk Kanjeevaram sarees of Kanchipuram found a humble beginning during the reign of the Pallava kings (275 CE to 897 CE), the chikankari embroidery of Lucknow is said to be the endowment of Mughal empress, Nur Jahan, in the 17th century, who herself was a master of the craft.India was one of the first countries in the world to start producing textiles, and synonymous to India that in ancient Greece the word “India” indicated “cotton”.
Across the map of our country every region has specific artforms and each still has a lineage from times immemorial. Every state, every district has its own specialty and style in craft. These dating back centuries, are still preserved today is because of their cultural importance to the people. They manifest India’s rich culture and tradition, and each craft is like a mirror reflecting the identity of the region where it was created it .These were created to mark important events, holy festivals and even births weddings and deaths.
The tangible and intangible manifestations of the heritage carry intangible values, expressing the significance of the heritage for the communities who consider it important.
Indian crafts include woodwork, metal, textile, fabric, terracotta objects, pottery and objects of bone, cane and bamboo. Carving in stone and wood is seen as architectural elements and statues and panels. From prehistoric times and the Indus valley civilization the exquisite crafts can be seen in utility items changing the humble everyday utility items into art objects. Jewellery from those civilisations has captured the fancy of every heritage lover in the world. Rugs, carpets, silks, paintings, enameled objects to herbal dyes all are our arts reflecting our culture and our heritage.
Arts and culture-related industries giveeconomic growth for the local communities. They complement community development and enrich local amenities. Arts and culture create job opportunities while it stimulates local economies through consumer driven purchases and tourism.
COVID-19 has hit our poverty rates in India very badly. About 271 million people were removed from the poverty line between 2006 and 2016, India had the fastest growing poverty reduction rate in 2019 . Today it is said it we have nearly 60% of the global increase in poverty, this is also given our population figures and the crisis .India is not alone in this as the pandemic-induced recession has pushed more then 76 million below the poverty line.This art and craft sector of the Indian economy is the one that has been hit badly. The pandemic has disproportionately impacted this sector which is also the most vulnerable. New IMF data meanwhile shows that advanced economies are more likely to recover faster from the crisis than emerging economies. We thus need to enhance the role of art ,culture and artisans with support from experts.
We have to rebuild these creative peoples livelihoods in a changed world, as this is the “new normal” post covid -19 ,and the sooner we start acknowledging this the betterLet us first savor the nuances of India’s diverse cultural palate, deep dive into some of the most awe-inspiring archives of the country’s arts and crafts and then try to devise ways to address this problem. Lets begin with our architecture and heritage sites many of them are world heritage sites.
World Heritage Sites in India
The earth has given shelter to 195 countries. In these 195 countries, whenever UNESCO finds a place of historic, cultural, architectural or scientific significance, it declares it a world heritage site. As per the latest count, there are 1,092 UNESCO heritage sites in the world.The UNESCO World Heritage Convention, which was formed in 1972, identified numerous sites of cultural and natural importance across the globe. After the most recent addition to the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list, India now has 38 World Heritage Sites, making India the 6th largest number of World Heritage Sites in the world. There are 30 cultural sites, 7 natural sites and 1 mixed as identified by UNESCO. With so many travellers` interested in exploring the UNESCO world heritage sites in India, below is a compilation of all of these places along with the significance attached to them that made them UNESCO heritage sites in the first place. In all cases, the tangible and intangible manifestations of the heritage carry intangible values, expressing the significance of the heritage for the communities who consider it important.
Benefits of the World Heritage Site Status
- Brings international attention to a need for the conservation and preservation of the site.
- Brings tourism to a site that ensures economic benefits.
- UNESCO provides funds for restoration, preservation, and training if it is required.
- It promotes strong links with the United Nations and offers prestige and support.
- Permits access to global project management resources.
- Facilitates the establishment of partnerships between government, the private sector and NGOs to achieve conservation objectives.
- The site shall be protected under the Geneva Convention against the misuse of Destruction during wartime.
The National Archives of India (NAI) is a repository of the non-current records of the Government of India and holds them in trust for the use of administrators and scholars. Originally established as the Imperial Record Department in 1891, in Calcutta, the capital of British India, the NAI is situated at the intersection of Janpath and Rajpath, in Delhi. It functions as an Attached Office of the Department of Culture under the Ministry of Culture, Government of India. The holdings in the National Archives are in a regular series starting from the year 1748. The languages of the records include English, Arabic, Hindi, Persian, Sanskrit and Urdu, and their materials include paper, palm leaf, birch bark and parchment. The records are in four categories: Public Records, Oriental Records, Manuscripts and Private Papers.
Music & Dance
Owing to India’s vastness and diversity, Indian Music encompass numerous genres, multiple varieties and forms which include classical music, folk (Bollywood), rock, and pop. It has a history spanning several millennia and developed over several geo-locations spanning the sub-continent. Music in India began as an integral part of socio-religious life.
The two main traditions of Indian classical music are Carnatic music, which is practised predominantly in the peninsular (southern) regions, and Hindustani music, which is found in the northern, eastern and central regions. The basic concepts of this music includes Shruti (microtones), Swaras (notes), Alankar (ornamentations), Raga (melodies improvised from basic grammars), and Tala (rhythmic patterns used in percussion). Its tonal system divides the octave into 22 segments called Shrutis, not all equal but each roughly equal to a quarter of a whole tone of the Western music. Both the classical music are standing on the fundamentals of The seven notes of Indian Classical music.
Dance in India comprises numerous styles of dances, generally classified as classical or folk. As with other aspects of Indian culture, different forms of dances originated in different parts of India, developed according to the local traditions and also imbibed elements from other parts of the country.
Sangeet Natya Academy, the national academy for performing arts in India, recognizes eight traditional dances as Indian classical dances, while other sources and scholars recognize more. Classical dance of India has developed a type of dance-drama that is a form of a total theater. The dancer acts out a story almost exclusively through gestures. Most of the classical dances of India enact stories from Hindu mythology. Each form represents the culture and ethos of a particular region or a group of people.
The criteria for being considered as classical is the style’s adherence to the guidelines laid down in Natyashastra, which explains the Indian art of acting. The Sangeet Natak Akademi currently confers classical status on eight Indian classical dance styles: Bharatanatyam (Tamil Nadu), Kathak (North, West and Central India), Kathakali (Kerala), Kuchipudi (Andhra), Odissi (Odisha), Manipuri (Manipur), Mohiniyattam (Kerala), and Sattriya (Assam). All classical dances of India have roots in Hindu arts and religious practices.
The tradition of dance has been codified in the Natyashastra and a performance is considered accomplished if it manages to evoke a rasa (emotion) among the audience by invoking a particular behave (gesture or facial expression). Classical dance is distinguished from folk dance because it has been regulated by the rules of the Natyashastra and all classical dances are performed only in accordance with them.
Folk dances are numerous in number and style and vary according to the local tradition of the respective state, ethnic or geographic regions. Contemporary dances include refined and experimental fusions of classical, folk and Western forms. Dancing traditions of India have influence not only over the dances in the whole of South Asia, but on the dancing forms of South East Asia as well. Dances in Indian films like Bollywood Dance for Hindi films, are often noted for freeform expression of dance and hold a significant presence in popular culture of the Indian subcontinent.
Literature & Folklore
The idea, the word, ‘folk’ has wide range of understanding and connotations – ranging from ‘natural’ to ‘native’ to ‘traditional’ to ‘rural’ and in some cases ‘from the heart.’ The ‘outpourings from the heart’ of native or traditional people later takes the form of folklore.
All folklores are oral traditions, the lore, traditional knowledge and beliefs of cultures often having no written language and they are transmitted, generally, by word of mouth. Like the written literature they contain both prose and verse narratives in addition to myths, dramas, rituals etc. All the cultures have their own folklores. In contrast and traditionally, literature is understood to mean any written work. All folklores do more than merely conveying heart-pouring of natives about the nature around them. They are often, nay, always the carriers of culture, of social mores, customs and forms of behaviour – that is a society, nay, life in a nutshell. Folklores contain the lofty thoughts of yore and highest metaphysical truths, normally incomprehensible to laymen, in a subtle, story forms.
Literature, in written form, helps in preserving the folklores and oral traditions. But for the literature in this form, the world would have lost almost all the folk and oral traditions. Written books, as recordings of folklores help in passing on the lofty thoughts and ideas to posterity with no or very little changes in contrast to oral traditions where they often get lost in transition. Literature also can highlight the relevance of the stories of the past to the generation of the present, something which the oral traditions cannot strongly do.
Indian Literature, compared to any other literature in the world, played a dominant role in the preservation and propagation of oral traditions and folklores. Very ancients of this land, India, were past masters of all art forms that is folk. Sama Veda, to name one, is probably oldest form of folk music that has survived till date. Even if one takes Sama Veda as a rusty folk music, then it is the finest and ancient folk music that the world has ever witnessed. From the Epics of India, Ramayana and Mahabharata to Jataka tales of Buddhism to PanchaTantras and Hitopadesha toKatha Saritsagarain the medieval period to mystic songs of Bauls of Bengal to numerous works in almost all the main languages of India, the scholars, saints and writers have kept the oral traditions and folklores alive by writing down many a tale. What is more unique to Indian attempts over centuries in preserving the folklores is the role played by women in it. The roles played by Gargi and Maitreyi of the distant past to Andal of Tamil Nadu at the beginning of the previous millennium to Lalleswari of Kashmir to Molla of Nellore in Andhra Pradesh to Akka Mahadevi of Karnataka to Sahajo Bai, is nothing short of stellar.
India remains one of the world’s richest sources of folktales. Not merely folktales but all forms of oral traditions – proverbs, aphorisms, anecdotes, rumours, songs, impromptu folk street plays – mirror the culture and values of the land in which they take place. They have also helped in binding vastly differing mores and customs of even a single given place. India is one place where the speech of even the most illiterate farmer is filled with lofty thoughts and metaphors. By preserving and adopting many a tale and numerous songs and plays peppered with the proverbs and aphorisms of the region, Indian Literature has played a huge role in binding together vast cultures in an unseen way. The role of Indian Literature in maintaining and fostering cultural unity and identity in the vast land such as India cannot be diminished.
Indian folk literature holds out a strong and loud message for other parts of the world where these art forms have disappeared thick and fast in consonance with rapid industrialization and globalization. Folk literature and folk art forms are not merely carriers of culture or philosophical poems, but rather the expressions of strong self-reflections and deep insights accrued therein. Simple life, self-reflection and treading the path of the righteous contained in traditions. Again, folk traditions are not merely platforms for holding high moral ground having no relevance to the present day reality. Several folk plays like ChaakiyarKoothu and VeethiNaatakam are used even today as satire plays and commentaries on the current social and political reality. Same holds true for many folk songs from the vast pages of Indian literature.
It is also true that when recorded and propagated in a printed form these folk literatures also gain mass reach which is otherwise confined to a smaller space and reach out only to smaller groups and communities. Through medieval Indian literature to 20th century we see the reality of Indian literature holding up for oral traditions contrary to popular perception when it is very true of European cultures and others where they have almost completely lost folk literature. Most recent example of this phenomenon we can see in the effort of famous Rajasthani folklorist, Sri Vijay Dan Detha.
In the modern democratic India, folk literature is pursued both within the academia and outside it unlike many other cultures. Efforts of Sahitya Akademi and other similar organizations form part of this collective attempt to preserve and disseminate Indian folk literature.
Sahitya Akademi, India’s premier institution of letters is devoted to the preservation and promotion of Indian Literature in all the 24 languages recognized by it. The core of the Akademi’s work is translation among various Indian languages including minor languages and dialects with the objective of promoting cultural unity in India and enhancing regional co-operation in a vastly diverse country with so many languages, traditions and cultures. The Sahitya Akademi also promotes Indian folk literature in all possible ways – by giving awards to folk literature; by holding conventions and giving awards in minor languages, languages without scripts and tribal dialects; publishing folk stories in its journals in the form of second tradition; publishing folk literature books and has centres to preserve and promote oral traditions within India.
Anthropology as is being practiced in the Anthropological Survey of India is unique with a truly holistic flavour. From very early on, it endeavored to bring in multi-disciplinary teams recruiting Anthropologists of both Cultural/Social and Biological varieties along with Linguists, Human Ecologists, Biochemists, Psychologists and Statisticians who collaborate with each other and with the National and State level institutions, while interacting with the renowned scholars of other countries to study man in all his entirety, not just for the sake of study but to create a human concern for one another and to help tackle problems of contemporary relevance. Anthological Survey of India swung in to an all-round modernization drive by employing state-of-the art technologies and infrastructural development in a big way to go ahead with its mandate.
Lalit Kala Akademi (LKA)
The LKA was inaugurated in New Delhi on August 5th, 1954, by the then Minister for Education, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad. The youngest of the three Akademies founded by the Government of India, the Lalit Kala Akademi was established in pursuance of the dream of the first Prime Minister of independent India, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru for a cultural and national identity. Thus the LKA as one among three such national organizations, that emerged. The LKA was the principal establishment to direct its focus on activities in the field of visual arts. In his inaugural speech, Maulana Abul Kalam had stated” The Akademi must work to preserve the glorious traditions of the past and enrich them by the work of our modern artists. It must also seek to improve standards and refine public taste”
National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA)
The idea of a national art gallery to germinate and bear fruit was first mooted in 1949. It was nurtured carefully by Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru and Maulana Azad, sensitive bureaucrats like Humayun Kabir and an active art community. Vice-president Dr S Radhakrishanan formally inaugurated the NGMA in the presence of Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and artists and art lovers of the city on March 29, 1954. The choice of Jaipur House, one of the premier edifices of Lutyens’ Delhi, signified the envisaged high profile of the institution. Designed by architect Charles G Blomfield and his brother Francis B Blomfield, as a residence for the Maharaja of Jaipur, the butterfly-shaped building with a central dome was built in 1936. It was styled after a concept of the Central Hexagon visualised by Sir Edwin Lutyens. It was Lutyens, along with Herbert Baker, who visualised and gave shape to the new capital in Delhi. Along with buildings designed for other princely potentates like Bikaner and Hyderabad, Jaipur House girded the India Gate circle. The famous architect conceptualised a harmony of facades giving the buildings a distinctive character.
NGMA’s inauguration was marked by an exhibition of sculptures. All the prominent sculptors of the time like Debi Prasad Roy Chowdhury, Ramkinkar Baij, Sankho Chaudhuri, Dhanraj Bhagat, Sarbari Roy Chowdhury and others had participated. The show spoke of the painstaking preparations made by NGMA’s first curator Herman Goetz. A noted German art historian, Goetz had earlier been responsible for setting up the Baroda Museum.Since Goetz’s tenure, NGMA has had a string of distinguished directors.
The Gallery is the premier institution of its kind in India. It is run and administered as a subordinate office to the Department of Culture, Government of India. The NGMA has two branches one at Mumbai and the other at Bangaluru. The gallery is a repository of the cultural ethos of the country and showcases the changing art forms through the passage of the last hundred and fifty years starting from about 1857 in the field of Visual and Plastic arts. Notwithstanding some gaps and some trivia, the NGMA collection today is undeniably the most significant collection of modern and contemporary art in the country today.
National Council of Science Museums (NCSM)
NCSM is an autonomous society under the Ministry of Culture, Government of India set up with the objective to develop a culture of science, technology & innovation and to encourage scientific temper in the society by setting up of Science Cities/Science Centres/Innovation Hubs and organising S& T awareness programmes throughout the country. The organization is engaged in setting up of facilities such as Science Cities, Science Centres, Innovation Hubs, Mobile Science Exhibitions (MSE) etc. and Science Outreach programmes such as Science Seminar, Science Drama, Science & Engineering Fair, Science Film Festival, Workshops, Training, Lectures and Science demonstrations etc. for general public and students in particular.
Library & Manuscripts
Library service comes under the aegis of State Governments and the States vary in their size, population, literacy rate, production of literature in regional languages and library infrastructure. HH Sayaji Rao Gaekwad III, Maharaja of Baroda, pioneered the development of Public Library System in India as early as 1910.The Maharaja insisted that “libraries should not limit their benefits to the few English knowing readers, but should see to it that their good work permeates through to the many”, and that “the vernacular libraries should be encouraged” so that every citizen of the State “may enrol himself as a pupil in the peoples’ university-the library. He established a Library Department with Mr. W. A.Borden as the first full time Director of State Libraries. A Central Library at Baroda with a nucleus collection of 88,764 volumes including the Maharaja’s private collection of 20,000 books was established with a full time Curator. The Maharaja also established an Oriental Institute and Library with 6,846 printed books and 1,420 manuscripts in Sanskrit, Gujarati and other languages. He was the first to initiate the publication of Gaekwad’s Oriental Series in 1915.
It is mind-boggling to learn that even a century ago the Maharaja arranged to purchase a Photostat camera and a camera projector by the State. The projector was utilized to view the silent films etc. He started Library Associations from Taluk level, organized ‘Mitra Mandal’ in the town & villages and organized regular library conferences. Mobile library service was organized to cater to the book need at remote villages.
In India, there are 54,856 public libraries starting from English Colony Library at Chennai in 1661. 1972 was declared as International Book Year with the slogan BOOKS FOR ALL.Even before Independence, Kolhapur Princely State, in the Western India passed Public Libraries Act in 1945. 19 States of the Indian Union have successfully passed the library legislation. In the coming few years, there is greater possibility for a library law being enacted in the remaining States.
On the International scenario, Ministry of Culture has an agreement with more than 100 Libraries in the world for exchange of resources and personnel. The International Book Fair is held every year at New Delhi in the month of February World Book Day (23rd April) is celebrated as Vishva Pustak Diwas in India. The Jaipur Literature Festival, the biggest literary festival in Asia which attracts thousands of writers and visitors from all over the world is held in Jaipur every year in the month of January. One of the unique attractions of this festival is the live performances given by famous musicians. Jaipur Literature Festival has been taking place in Jaipur since the year 2006. The National Library Week is celebrated from 14th to 21st November every year in India.
Ancient Monument means any structure, erection or monument, or any tumulus or place of interment, or any cave, rock-sculpture, inscription or monolith which is of historical, archaeological or artistic interest and which has been in existence for not less than 100 years and includes—
- Remains of an ancient monument,
- Site of an ancient monument,
- Such portion of land adjoining the site of an ancient monument as may be required for fencing or covering in or otherwise preserving such monument, a
- The means of access to, and convenient inspection of, an ancient monument;
Protection of monuments
The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) under the provisions of the AMASR Act, 1958 protects monuments, sites and remains of national importance by giving a two-months’ notice for inviting objections, if any in this regard. After the specified two-month’s period, and after scrutinizing the objections, if any, received in this regard, the ASI makes decision to bring a monument under its protection. There are at present more than 3650 ancient monuments and archaeological sites and remains of national importance. These monuments belong to different periods, ranging from the prehistoric period to the colonial period and are located in different geographical settings. They include temples, mosques, tombs, churches, cemeteries, forts, palaces, step-wells, rock-cut caves, and secular architecture as well as ancient mounds and sites which represent the remains of ancient habitation.
These monuments and sites are maintained and preserved through various Circles of the ASI spread all over the country. The Circles look after the research on these monuments and conservation activities, while the Science Branch with its headquarters at Dehradun carries out chemical preservation and the Horticulture Branch with its headquarters at Agra is entrusted with the laying out gardens and environmental development.
Various Branches and Circles of the ASI carry out archaeological excavations in different parts of the country. Wing. Since independence various agencies like the Archaeological Survey of India, State Departments of Archaeology, Universities and other research organizations have conducted archaeological excavations in different parts of the country. Based on the information available in the Indian Archaeology – A Review a list of the sites, excavated during last century, is given state wise. Excavations conducted since 2000 are given in this section. Arranged state wise they include brief information on the site and important finds.
Conservation & Preservation
The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), as an attached office under the Department of Culture, Ministry of Tourism and Culture, is the premier organization for the archaeological researches and protection of the cultural heritage of the nation. Maintenance of ancient monuments and archaeological sites and remains of national importance is the prime concern of the ASI. Besides it regulate all archaeological activities in the country as per the provisions of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958. It also regulates Antiquities and Art Treasure Act, 1972.
For the maintenance of ancient monuments and archaeological sites and remains of national importance the entire country is divided into 24 Circles. The organization has a large work force of trained archaeologists, conservators, epigraphist, architects and scientists for conducting archaeological research projects through its Excavation Branches, Prehistory Branch, Epigraphy Branches, Science Branch, Horticulture Branch, Building Survey Project, Temple Survey Projects and Underwater Archaeology Wing.
During conservation and preservation of buildings and monuments a very important aspect is living heritage. Living heritage is the product from traditional life before the modernization and the globalization of the world. It is entwined with our traditional social system itself in a strange way. As religions or belief systems were the core of our life, any form of living heritage is inseparable from the framework of the religion or the belief system of its society. Just preservation of monuments, sites and art objectsis not heritage. Thus, concept of heritage now encompasses, the inclusion of new categories such as intangible heritage, folk-cultural heritage, traditional techniques, as well as historic districts. Yoga, Ayurveda,a very wide range of heritage types from intangible heritage to tangible heritage – both movable and immovable – as well as natural heritage, including even rare animal or plant speciesas also ‘folk-cultural heritage’ . This is inclusive of the folk-culture both of tangible and intangible forms, such as manners and customs related to food, clothing, and housing, to occupations, religious faiths, festivals, to folk-entertainment basically all walks of life and livelihood.From everyday clothes, implements, houses and other objects used therefore, which are indispensable for the understanding of changes in
people’s modes of life. In addition to manners and customs, skills and techniques nurtured in traditional folk industries such as cuisine -traditional regional cooking must be added to this category of intangible folk-cultural properties. All of these created the unique art and culture of our country and help understand its evolution. Thus, fairs and festivals are an important part of our heritage.
India is a land of festivals and fairs. Virtually celebrating each day of the year, there are more festivals celebrated in India than anywhere else in the world. Each festival pertains to different occasions, some welcome the seasons of the year, the harvest, the rains, or the full moon. Others celebrate religious occasions, the birthdays of divine beings and saints, or the advent of the New Year. A number of these festivals are common to most parts of India. However, they may be called by different names in various parts of the country or may be celebrated in a different fashion. Some of the festivals celebrated all over India are mentioned below. However, this section is still under enhancement. There are many other important festivals celebrated by various communities in India and this section shall be further enriched with information about them.
Lord Vishnu is invoked in his human incarnation as Krishna on his birth anniversary in the festival of Janmashtami. This festival of Hindus is celebrated with great devotion on the eighth day of the dark fortnight in the month of Sravana (July-August) in India. According to Hindu mythology, Krishna was born to destroy Mathura’s demon King Kansa, brother of his virtuous mother, Devaki.
Christmas originates from the word Cristes maesse, or ‘Christ’s Mass’. The first Christmas is estimated to be around 336 A.D. in Rome. It is celebrated on 25th December all over the world, to commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. It is regarded as one of the most important of all Christian festivals. It is a public holiday in India and most of the other countries.
Celebrated on the full-moon day of the Hindu month of Sravana (July/August), this festival celebrates the love of a brother for his sister. On this day, sisters tie rakhi on the wrists of their brothers to protect them against evil influences, and pray for their long life and happiness. They in turn, give a gift which is a promise that they will protect their sisters from any harm. Within these Rakhis reside sacred feelings and well wishes. This festival is mostly celebrated in North India.
Deepawali or Diwali, is a festival of lights symbolising the victory of righteousness and the lifting of spiritual darkness. The word ‘Deepawali’ literally means rows of diyas (clay lamps). This is one of the most popular festivals in the Hindu calendar. It is celebrated on the 15th day of Kartika (October/November). This festival commemorates Lord Rama’s return to his kingdom Ayodhya after completing his 14-year exile.
Id-ul-Zuha (Bakr-Id), is a festival of great rejoice, special prayers and exchange of greetings and gifts mark this festival of Muslims. Id-ul-zuha, the festival of sacrifice is celebrated with traditional fervor and gaiety in India and the world. It is called Id-ul-Adha in Arabic and Bakr-Id in the Indian subcontinent, because of the tradition of sacrificing a goat or ‘bakr’ in Urdu. The word ‘id’ derived from the Arabic ‘iwd’ means ‘festival’ and zuha comes from ‘uzhaiyya’ which translates to ‘sacrifice’.
This pandemic has wiped out the artisans in our country as also livelihoods of performing artists and musicians, and nearly a third of jobs for all those who work in the creative economy broadly spanning arts, music, theatre, design and entertainment. As brutal as the losses are in economy and jobs the implications to society are even more devastating. We must do everything in our power to save arts and culture from this deepening crisis. What’s needed is a massive infusion of money and help. The arts and creative sector must be a top priority in the economic recovery strategy. Much more funding must be mobilized from philanthropic foundations, other national arts organizations, economic development groups, and state and local governments. Our social and economic infrastructure cannot be allowed to fall apart. Our creative industry of arts, culture, design and entertainment is our biggest asset and money generation industry too. It is a key sectors that encourages economic growth. A nation’s pride and cultural growth and resilience is its cultural creativity. The arts and culture of the country resonate and reinforce the power of our countries diversity. The social enterprises and arts needs to overlap, these have just started interacting with one other and this will be a game changer. Cultural leaders can use their networks as a tool and can be role models and leaders in leveraging the power of creativity and innovation. In times like these, we need to empower artists like never before to help us bring back our hope to create a better future.
Role of Art& Culture in Economic Development
Indian crafts have deep historical significance, rich cultural heritage and their distinct literary style have an awesome legacy. Most of their developmental detours are because of disrupts in value chain, anomalies in need-fulfillment and unorganized networking with imperfect backward-forward integration. Review of this unregulated economy has revealed a serious risk vulnerability and significant drudgery owing to excessive reliance on obsolete technologies. So, for preserving craft the prospective proposition was leading towards inclusive manufacturing. An inclusive value chain can only prompt opportunities for all stakeholders to contribute their full potential and get a dignified set of derivatives. However, its sustenance depends on the extent of transparency, accountability, compassionate decision-making and tenacity.
Scholars, forums, international organizations, researchers, dictionaries, and national associations articulate crafts by many definitions in several contexts. Crafts are products produced by (i) manual effort (with minimum or no input from machines) (ii) a substantial level of skill or expertise (iii) a significant level of tradition and (iv) largely typify the legacy of survival (Liebl and Roy 2003). In 1989, Development Commissioner of Handicrafts, Government of India provided a simple and functional definition as “Items made by hand, often using simple tools, and… generally artistic and /or traditional in nature”. They include objects of utility and/or objects of decoration. Another definition is “A skilled activity in which something is made traditionally with the hands rather than being produced by machines in a factory, or an object made by such an activity” (Cambridge Dictionary). Likewise, UNESCO / UNCTAD / WTO defines it as “artefacts are made by craftspeople, either completely by hand, or using hand tools or even mechanical means, as long as the direct manual contribution of the artisan remains the most substantial component of the finished artefact. Crafts derive their distinctness from the characteristic features of the artefacts or the artisan’s noesis that include utilitarian, aesthetics, and creativity, cultural significance, decorative, functional, traditional, religious and socially symbolic”.
Since the neoteric tumble of crafts economy was sooner than it grew in the medieval era, so rejuvenating value accession thoroughly is a socioeconomic imperative for holistic development. Enabling cumulative value across the chain is essential (SDG17) to ensure equitable wealth generation and dignified living for all stakeholders (SDG8) and to sustain its contributions towards the overarching economy of India. Recuperating crafts is not merely for economics, it’s just for social reasons as well because establishing a conducive crafts economy is a promising avenue to empower marginalised and fringe section of society with subsistence (SDG1). Many small cap investments are needed to enable crafts, as those business models will stimulate active participation at the ground zero level and; their actions will make real world differences like incubating innovative solutions and scalable opportunities. There is a need to synergise responsibility and compassion among all stakeholders’ form artisans to consumers; instead of deposing them to compete, square or cross one over another. Besides, governments should restrain themselves for ensuring regulatory compliance, audits and statutory governance. The extent of supports needs to go deeper into all most value chains, restructure linkages and converge as a national transformation movement.
Being the second largest livelihood sector in India after agriculture, crafts economy is a sunrise enabler hence its renaissance through inclusiveness can certainly make India great. The post-independence attempts through consecutive five-year plans and their policies were moderately effective in revitalizing of the craft economy, but there is more scope to feat. From afore review of crafts economy context and to the best of our apprehension there are about less than 1000 promising crafts natively practised with indigenous skillsets than can generate more than crore rupees revenue per annum and add to the national economy.
Artisans, faced a huge economic crunch and dire lack of financial assistance, and our focus must be on financial help , reinvocation and a new creating a new avatar for India’s rural and tribal artisans. Artisans depend largely on simple trade and access to markets, exhibitions and stores and also middlemen who are like vultures prey on these people.
Connection between art and business is inseparable. Almost in all types of businesses, arts is a centre-stage. Arts create and promote businesses. Businesses promote art(s) and even industry. There is arts based business and arts based industry. The first layers of inter-connection among the arts, business, and industry. In the second layer, the connection between art and product. Arts promotes the products and many products uses arts.
- Business uses the arts for decoration
- Business uses the arts for entertainment, either by giving the employees benefits such as tickets for selected shows, performances at annual meetings, customer events or special occasions.
- Business applies the arts as instruments for teambuilding, communication training, leadership development, problem solving and innovation processes.
- Business integrates the arts in a strategic process of transformation, involving, as well as customer relations and marketing.
Thus, comes the relevance of the concepts of business based on arts. To improve business based on art, the arts based management thinkers have been emphasising on development of artful leadership skills for creativity and innovation, applying the arts to organizational learning. Many a time business thinkers are stating emphasising even on use of arts as a catalyst for the business transformation of business. A scholar mentioned that there are four contributions of Arts to Business. They are
Metaphors: Artistic metaphors are tools for generating new types of conversations, for seeking new perspectives and for making mind shifts that can lead to innovation;
Artistic capabilities: Artistic capabilities and competencies vary from communication and presentation to improve, drawing and painting as well as applying intuition;
Artistic events: Ambiguity is deliberately used as inspiration and provocation through events ranging from ―concerts of ideas‖, Forum Theatre, painting processes for teambuilding, drumming sessions, storytelling, improvisation practice, etc; and finally,
Artistic products: This arena involves social innovation and artistic products, including product design as well as new training programs and change processes.
Interconnection between arts and business is widely interpretable connections, more in between business and management. In this regard, art plays an important role model for business, is a ubiquitous statement expressing interconnections. It is seen that the arts are an emerging role model for business and in government organizations because the arts excel in areas where managers struggle the most: chaos, diversity, ambiguity, envisioning the future and the ability to dare to break molds.
“Business has much to learn from the arts… Studying the arts can help businesspeople communicate more eloquently…Studying the arts can also help companies learn how to manage bright people…Studying the art world might even hold out the biggest prize of all—helping business become more innovative. Companies are scouring the world for new ideas. In their quest for creativity, they surely have something to learn from the creative industries.”Based on the various literature mentionedabove, it is clear that the business itself is an art.wemay come across many challenges based on rational,scientific and logical for individual or in groups. Artwill express the valuable experience in such situation;art will create a safety measure by giving the clue ofanswering many deeper questions and may lead tothe emotional truth about a situation. Art has becomethe role model for business. To many extent art itselfis undergoing many business issues likemanufacturing, product development, selling,innovation, architecture, organization, etc.
Many businesses comprising of differentnature say, tourism, small scale industry, hospitality,construction, handloom products, doll making,pottery making, home decoration etc. This art basedbusiness has only developed by established normswhich make to learn more principles and practicesfrom the world of arts and apply them to business.
When they come under the umbrella of the govt schemes and get an organised sector of artistic manufacturing, it can be the basis for sustainable livelihoods and re-energise economy. That’s how arts and culture can serve as a force for social change. We must help artisans make e-commerce catalogues and connect to online sales to continue selling their produce. As also ensure persistent quality control and checks in place as an inherent part of their craft. Reaching out to global retailers chains play a critical role in buying the wares of Indian artisans and taking them to a global marketplace, but it must be done protecting the artisans legal rights.
Many more initiatives need to be taken upon documentation, dissemination of India art and culture and propagation of tribal arts, crafts and traditions and promoting, projecting and preserving the cultural heritage of the Himalayas and for promoting Buddhist and Tibetan cultures and traditions through research work”. There are enough possibilities to undertake the many studies on the arts- based-businesses and art in business in the context of North East Indian Region as a whole and for each state or even at the micro level. If the researchers and sponsoring organizations feel these types of studies may create multiple implication for developing the regional economy by integrating arts to business, and business to the development of arts, and business for promoting the arts. The will to do from all the corners can bring the changes in the regions.
The Science Technology & Culture
In ancient times, all the innovative thoughts and postulates of great sages fell under the overall umbrella of philosophy. There was no division between scientific and religious thinking in those days, all innovators being regarded as philosophers or rishis. They did not necessarily speak of religion alone. They had deep insight or antardrishti. Their invaluable contributions to Astronomy are an inseparable part of the holy Rig Veda. Similarly, the Samhitas and the Atharva Veda, respectively, are the repositories of important treatises on medicine and mathematics. Culture is thus inseparable from science, and vice versa. ‘Nahi jananena sadrsam’, or there is nothing that bears comparison to knowledge, epitomizes the homage of Indian culture to learning and inspired our ancients’ quest for knowledge. Science was an integral part and important preoccupation in ancient Indian culture. The past inspires the future in India, and the ancient Sanskrit texts reflect shades of twentieth century thinking. Scientific ideas were developed in India over 5,000 years ago and have stood the test of time.
Rapid development in technology, in the last several decades, have changed the nature of culture, and modes of cultural exchange, as people around the world transact and transmit voluminous information to each other almost instantaneously through the use of computers and satellite communications. Human societies can now exert or absorb influence, as culture cross national boundaries, through exchanges in essential products, films and music, and other mass – produced and distributed items that shape the way we live and behave towards one another in form of a global culture. Local culture and social structures are now shaped by large and powerful interests in ways that earlier anthropologists and sociologists could not have imagined when they thought of societies and their cultures as relatively independent systems. Many nations, like our own, are multi – cultural societies composed of other smaller subcultures in a ‘salad bowl’ or ‘melting pot’ mixture existing with other societies in a global context.
We need a national movement of social entrepreneurs and social innovators who share the common goal of creating innovative, people-centric approaches to get to the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 –
Leader in social entrepreneurship around the country must mobilise as much support as possible for social entrepreneurs on the front lines of the crisis. These kinds of collaborative ventures are now appearing in India, and it will help this sector.
The need of the day is
- Social entrepreneurs now, more than ever.
- To prepare and plan for a new tomorrow shaped by covid.
- Collaborate across sectors and people
- Go local to save the economy and art
- Government organization MUST make space for creativity and transforms communities.
- Getting creative people together in real-estate projects that serve the needs of the arts and cultural community
- Make rules and create multiple public-policy objectives to use the skills of these people.
- Encourage private development interests, community, and neighbourhood a1. Understand your states cultural industries. Creative industries are so important in states and local economic development and since this impact is always underestimated special attention should be devoted to them
- Every state should measure its creative economy. For a better understanding about the economic benefit of these creative industries the state can map their cultural and art assets.
After analysing cultural assets states should use that information to devise the economic benefits to the creative industries on a state-wide basis. Such strategies will identify new opportunities and reveal potential partners to further art-driven economic development in the state. Here are the key elements of a good planning process:
- Identify a vision-The leadership body should develop a specific vision AND A TIMEBOUND ROAD MAP for incorporating arts and culture in states economic development. This lays a foundation for business development and attracts creative workers. States have created economic development plans which are designed to use state’s cultural assets to spur economic growth.
- Seek input from stakeholders-This includes identifying the right people to lead to the success of the planning efforts
- Public-private partnerships-States partnership with any key area industries will increase their capacity to develop a creative workforce. Many local –levels successes suggests that such strategies are promising since they provide technical assistance in areas such as planning and marketing. This fosters significant growth in the country’s cultural sector.
- Target specific sectors- States must have identified various creative industries that offer significant economic growth. They include textile, crafts, design, and environmental arts. This help in adopting different strategies such as training programs, to encourage growth in the industry.
Incorporate the arts into a state tourism strategy.
Strengthening tourism is the main state art strategy. Cultural tourism is becoming increasingly popular and thus becoming the key component of economic growth.
Creative industries can benefit residents in rural areas and urban core. This is achieved by linking artists with entrepreneurial opportunities both inside and beyond their region. This offers many economic development opportunities.
- Govt must work to fostering a new and diverse generation of Cultural Leaders to drive social change. people who are developing innovative mechanisms to deliver social or environmental good. we need to empower more citizens to participate in their economies and to contribute to solving our collective challenges. In this, social entrepreneurs have a critical role to play.
“The key to national prosperity, apart from the spirit of the people has in the modern age, the effective combination of three factors”: Technology, raw materials and capital of which the first is perhaps the most important, since the creation and adoption of new scientific techniques can, in fact, make up for a deficiency in natural resources and reduce the demands on capital. But technology can only grow out of the study of science and its application.
The past one century has seen the development of science and technology at an ever-increasing pace. This has resulted into a larger gap between the industrialized and backward nations. This can be bridged only by concerted effort in adopting through development of science & its application through technology. The nation’s scientific policy aims at:
- Fostering, promoting and sustaining by all appropriate means the cultivation of the sciences and scientific research in all its aspects-pure, applied and educational;
- Encouraging and initiating with all possible speed, programmes for the training of scientific and technological personnel on a scale adequate to fulfil the country’s needs in science and education, agriculture, industry, and defence;
- Ensuring an adequate supply of research scientists of the highest quality within the country and to recognize their work as an important component of the strength of the nation;
- Ensuring that the creative talent of men and women is encouraged and reaches its full potential in scientific activity;
- Encouraging individual initiative in the acquisition and dissemination of knowledge in an atmosphere of academic freedom; and
- Securing for the people of the country all the benefits that can accrue from the acquisition and application of scientific knowledge.
Arts and culture can influence an array of policy goals, including economic development, rural development, urban revitalization, revenue generation, tourism, accessibility and participation, diversity, education, and youth development. For many of these areas, states and the federal government are partnered. Support for the production, distribution, and infrastructure of the arts is critical to success in tourism, attracting business interests, economic development, and quality of life issues. Further, the arts are a core academic subject in our schools. Strong and sequential arts education through primary and secondary school contributes to student success and workforce development. In our education systems, the study of the arts should remain vibrant. The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) encourages a better and stronger understanding of this partnership as well as a reasoned study and understanding of the inputs and benefits.
Economic Development: Arts and culture are consistent sources of economic growth, during both good and difficult economic times. Specifically, arts and culture policies and programs increase economic development in states by attracting businesses, creating new jobs, increasing tax revenues and promoting tourism. Additionally, the arts and culture play a key role in urban revitalization and community renewal strategies. The government support arts and culture through foreign investments that will promote economic development, jobs creation, and community revitalization at the states and Union Territories.
Tourism: Tourism is another vital element of country economic development, diversification, and rural development programs, as well as a leading services sector employer.
Collaboration and Coordination
The pandemic has led to a growing realising that we can’t possibly begin to address the scale of the challenges confronting us without this kind of collaboration between different agencies. Everyone has to join hands in this venture be it the corporate or the private sector, Government agencies, as also social entrepreneurs, to really try and build solutions. This kind of impact is not possible alone – it is all about collaboration and working together. Periods of crisis can drive cooperation and solidarity and give rise to new and better ways of doing things.
The National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the White House Preserve America initiative, and offices within USDA Rural Development, the National Park Service, the Smithsonian Institution, the U.S. Department of Education, and many others are engaged inpromoting various aspects of culture, the arts, heritage preservation, and tourism. NCSL encourages collaboration and coordination among these disparate agencies and budgetary line-items with state legislatures to ensure that the policy and program outcomes meet the needs and goals identified by state policymakers. Further, this collaboration and coordination should improve the identification and sharing of best practices from and among the states and the federal government.
International cultural policy focuses on the following objectives:
- Helping leading Indian art and culture institutions achieve international standards, by making considered choices within the basic cultural infrastructure;
- Strengthening the international market position of Indian artists and institutions; handicrafts; ethnic arts and indigenous cultural industries of India
- Strengthening Indian economic interests by emphasizing cultural, trade and economic ties; ease of access pertaining to export and outsourcing
- Cultural diplomacy: using art and culture to benefit international relations.
- To participate in the formulation and implementation of policies and programmes relating to India’s external cultural relations;
- To foster and strengthen cultural relations and mutual understanding between India and other countries;
- To promote cultural exchange with other countries and peoples;
- To establish and develop relations with national and inter-national organizations in the field of culture;
- To take such measures as may be required to further these objectives.
Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) was established in 1950-51, to project Indian culture abroad and to bring to India the rich manifestations of international culture. India’s major institution for cultural diplomacy, the ICCR organizes international cultural exchanges, offers scholarships, organises camps and cultural tours and placements, and supports the cultural centres associated with Indian diplomatic missions (Embassies and Consulates) abroad. The ICCR was the key organiser of the India Festivals organised in the 1980s in London, Paris, Moscow, etc. Funding source: Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India.
Push for revenue growth will require investments towards improving services, facilities and attractions that will generate visitor interest and eventually footfall. These investments can be funded through a public-private partnership that will allow the government to ensure that heritage conservation remains primary focal area and that commercial interest does not interfere with that objective. This is true for both currently ticketed as well as other sites. PPP Mode can be adopted to attract funding from various Public and Private Sector Enterprises. Collaboration with state governments for undertaking development works – to be undertaken jointly by ASI and State Governments while core conservation activities are to be undertaken by ASI only (e.g., Raigad Model). Ministry of Tourism to directly give funds to ASI for development of amenities around a monument rather than giving it to various state tourism departments.
States can use the arts to boost their economies in a variety of ways from community development and promoting arts assets as boosts to cultural tourism. They should also adopt strategies that support and strengthen their creative industries. States can support the inclusion of arts in community development strategies by offering tax cuts and benefits and creating public space for arts.
Economic sustainability is a key challenge in conservation and development of heritage sites for tourist/visitor interest, state funding can get it going, but it is critical that a self-sustaining economic cycle kicks in, this is especially true for the major protected monuments, and these have potential to generate revenue that can help conserve, protect, and develop the others.
Dr. P. Sekhar, Chairman,
Global Smart City Panel,
Dr. Masooma Rizvi, Motivational Speaker,
Museology & Art Curation And Restoration Expert. Founder of Belits Design Solution