G20 Culture Ministers’ Meeting: The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi addressed the G20 Culture Ministers’ Meeting held in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh via video link today.
The Prime Minister welcomed the dignitaries to Varanasi, also known as Kashi, and expressed delight that the G20 Culture Ministers’ Meeting is taking place here as the city is his parliamentary constituency. Referring to Kashi as one of the oldest living cities, the Prime Minister mentioned the nearing town of Sarnath where Lord Buddha delivered his first sermon. “Kashi is known to be a treasure chest of knowledge, duty and truth and it is indeed the cultural and spiritual capital of India”, the Prime Minister remarked and suggested the guests witness the the Ganga Aarti program, pay a visit to Sarnath and try out the delicacies of Kashi.
Highlighting the inherent potential of culture to unite and enable us to understand diverse backgrounds and perspectives, the Prime Minister said that the work of the G20 Culture Ministers Group holds immense significance for entire humanity. “We in India are very proud of our eternal and diverse culture.
We also attach great value to our intangible cultural heritage”, Shri Modi said as he underlined that India has been working hard to preserve and revitalize its heritage sites. He mentioned mapping the country’s cultural assets and artists at the national level as well as village level. He also mentioned building several centers to celebrate India’s culture and gave the example of the tribal museums located in different parts of the country which showcase the vibrant culture of India’s tribal communities.
Referring to the Prime Ministers’ Museum in New Delhi, the Prime Minister said that it is a one-of-a-kind effort to showcase India’s democratic heritage. He also mentioned developing the ‘Yuge Yugeen Bharat’ National Museum, which upon completion will stand as the world\’s largest museum showcasing India’s history and culture spanning over 5,000 years.
Speaking about the important issue of restitution of cultural property, the Prime Minister welcomed the efforts of the working group and said that tangible heritage is not only of material value but it is also the history and identity of a nation. Shri Modi remarked, “Everyone has the right to access and enjoy their cultural heritage.” Since 2014, the Prime Minister informed that India has brought back hundreds of such artifacts that showcase the glory of its ancient civilisation.
He also commended the efforts towards living heritage as well as contributions to ‘Culture for LiFE’. After all, the Prime Minister said, cultural heritage is not just what is cast in stone, it is also the traditions, customs and festivals that are handed down the generations. The Prime Minister expressed confidence that the efforts of the working group will foster sustainable practices and lifestyles.
The Prime Minister underlined that heritage is a vital asset for economic growth and diversification, and it is echoed in India’s mantra of ‘Vikas Bhi Virasat Bhi’ which means development as well as heritage. “India takes pride in its 2,000-year-old craft heritage, with nearly 3,000 unique arts and crafts”, the Prime Minister said as he highlighted the ‘One District, One Product’ initiative which showcases the uniqueness of Indian crafts while fostering self-reliance at the same time.
He emphasized that the efforts of G20 nations towards promoting cultural and creative industries hold profound significance as they will facilitate inclusive economic development and support creativity and innovation. In the coming month, the Prime Minister informed that India is going to roll out the PM Vishwakarma Yojana with an initial outlay of 1.8 billion dollars. He stated that it would create an ecosystem of support for traditional artisans and enable them to flourish in their crafts and contribute to the preservation of India’s rich cultural heritage.
Noting that technology is an important ally in celebrating culture, the Prime Minister mentioned India’s National Digital District Repository which is helping rediscover the stories of freedom struggle. He emphasized India’s usage of technology to ensure better preservation of its cultural landmarks while also making places of cultural importance more tourist-friendly.
Concluding the address, the Prime Minister expressed delight that the G20 Culture Ministers’ working group has launched the ‘Culture Unites All’ campaign which encapsulates the spirit of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam – One Earth, One Family, One Future. He also commended their pivotal role in shaping a G20 Action Plan with tangible outcomes. “Your work reflects the importance of the four Cs – Culture, Creativity, Commerce and Collaboration. It will enable us to harness the power of culture to build a compassionate, inclusive and peaceful future”, the Prime Minister concluded.