‘Garba of Gujarat’, now a Unesco Intangible Cultural Heritage

State to organise curated ‘Garba’ events across districts to celebrate the announcement

GN Bureau | December 6, 2023


#heritage   #Unesco   #culture   #Gujarat   #Garba  
(Image courtesy: https://www.flickr.com/photos/restless_mind/2926228885)
(Image courtesy: https://www.flickr.com/photos/restless_mind/2926228885)

'Garba of Gujarat' has been inscribed in the Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) of Humanity by UNESCO, under the provisions of the 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage during the 18th meeting of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage during December 5-9 in Kasane, Botswana.

Garba of Gujarat is the 15th ICH element from India to join this list. This inscription underscores Garba’s pivotal role as a unifying force that fosters social and gender inclusivity. Garba as a dance form is entrenched deeply in ritualistic and devotional roots, involving people from all walks of life and it continues to thrive as a vibrant living tradition bringing communities together.

Union minister of culture G. Kishan Reddy in an X post said that this listing is testimony to the tireless efforts of the government to showcase our rich culture, traditions & heritage to the world.

The Evaluation Body of the 2003 Convention in its report this year lauded India for its dossier with outstanding supporting material and for nominating an element that champions unity in diversity and cultivates social equality among varied communities. This acknowledgement of UNESCO inscribing an intangible cultural heritage element from Gujarat, Garba will significantly elevate its global visibility and authentic essence.

Several Member States congratulated India on this achievement. To celebrate this remarkable occasion, a troupe of 8 dancers from the Indian Council for Cultural Relations, showcased Garba dance form at the meeting venue. In India, the Government of Gujarat is organizing several curated ‘Garba’ events across districts in Gujarat to celebrate this milestone.

The Listing mechanism under the UNESCO 2003 Convention aims to enhance the visibility of intangible cultural heritage, fostering awareness of its significance and promoting dialogue that respects cultural diversity. India was elected to be part of the 24 Member Inter-governmental Committee (IGC) of the ICH 2003 Convention in 2022 for a tenure of 4 years.

Alongside India, this year’s Intergovernmental Committee (IGC) comprised of Angola, Bangladesh, Botswana, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Czechia, Ethiopia, Germany, Malaysia, Mauritania, Morocco, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Republic of Korea, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland, Uzbekistan and Vietnam.

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