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Documenting the intangible

Documenting the intangible
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NMI’s Department of Museology, which has embarked on the ambitious task of developing inventory on ICH (intangible cultural heritage) from across India, has initiated pilot projects in the plains of western Uttar Pradesh and mountains of Ladakh.

To begin with, the institute organised a community-led event at Sikhera village off Meerut and Gya on the highest plateau in Jammu and Kashmir, NMI officials said.

The daylong workshops, which aimed to explore the range and nature of ICH in the Indian context, was held late last week, thus setting off a series of endeavours such as testing the forms and formats for the country’s cultural domain, according to Dr Venu V, director-general of the National Museum under which NMI functions.

‘We have started listing the ICH elements of these two regions. They will be the models for other such studies,’ he said.

The events in both places were held on 17 October, coinciding with the 10th anniversary of signing of UNESCO’s Paris convention for the safeguarding of ICH.

Dr Manvi Seth, assistant professor with NMI, said the institute engaged high-school students from the region and facilitated their interaction with the elders of the socio-ethnic belt. ‘The basic aim is to make these students aware and interested in the activity. We are creating an opportunity for them to learn something from their cultural environment,’ she added.

At Sikhera, NMI organised a programme of live creation of the living tradition of Sanjhi — a set of design patterns consisting of traditional motifs created on certain ceremonies, festivals and life-cycle occasions.
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