Kolkata: Amidst the ongoing dark phase of pandemic, UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) on Wednesday has given a reason to rejoice for all Bengalis and residents of the state after they accorded heritage status to West Bengal’s Durga puja festival.
Posting a picture of Durga idol being made by an artisan, UNESCO took to Twitter saying, “Durga puja in Kolkata has just been inscribed on the intangible heritage list. Congratulations India.”
Issuing a letter, the state government said, “We are proud of our Durga Puja and it is our proud and historic moment. It is a red-letter day for us. In a real sense Bengal is now Biswa Bangla. Our congratulations to all the people of Bengal, country and the world. We convey our thanks and gratitude to UNESCO for the recognition bestowed on this great festival as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.”
Expressing her joy, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said, “Proud moment for Bengal! To every #Bengali across the world, Durga Puja is much more than a festival, it is an emotion that unites everyone. And now, #DurgaPuja has been added to the Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. We are all beaming with joy!”
Lauding the development, Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted, “A matter of great pride and joy for every Indian! Durga Puja highlights the best of our traditions and ethos. And, Kolkata’s Durga Puja is an experience everyone must have.”
Notably, the 16th Committee of UNESCO for safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) in its meeting held on December 15 in Paris has inscribed Durga Puja in Kolkata on the representative list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. This is the 1st festival in Asia to achieve recognition as UNESCO ICH of Humanity. 48 nominations had been submitted for inscription on the Representative List of ICH of humanity. The nominations were reviewed by an Evaluation Body who made recommendations to the Committee for its decision. The Evaluation Body was comprised 6 ICH experts. The Committee approved the decision of the inscription of Durga Puja in Kolkata.
Durga Puja in this state is more than a festival as emotions and selfless acts of all the Bengalis are associated with this festival.
UNESCO also commended the concerned organizations in Kolkata for their initiatives to involve marginalized groups and individuals as well as women in their participation in safeguarding the intangible cultural heritage.
It is pertinent to mention that the Puja Carnival organized at the end of the festivities on the Red Road of Kolkata started with the initiative of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is a unique event and only of its kind in the country that attracts people from all walks of life who collectively celebrate the rich and diverse culture of Bengal.
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