On Wednesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi characterized Garba, Gujarat's traditional dance, as a celebration of life, unity, and deeply ingrained traditions, following its approval for inclusion in UNESCO's 'Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity'.
Modi expressed that this inscription on the Intangible Heritage List highlights the splendor of Indian culture to the world. He added that this honor motivates us to safeguard and enhance our heritage for forthcoming generations. "Congratulations on this international recognition," stated Modi on X. Garba, which is performed throughout Gujarat and numerous other parts of the country during the Navratri festival, was India's nomination for inclusion in the list.
The decision to include was taken at the 18th session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, which started in Kasane, Botswana, on Tuesday. This was done under the auspices of the 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage.
The inclusion of Gujarat's Garba as the 15th ICH element from India on this list emphasizes its significant role as a catalyst for social and gender inclusivity. As a dance form, Garba is deeply rooted in rituals and devotion, engaging individuals from diverse backgrounds. It remains a thriving, vibrant tradition that unites communities, according to an official statement.
The UNESCO website describes Garba as a devotional and ritualistic dance, performed during the Navratri festival. This event is dedicated to the celebration and worship of 'Shakti', representing feminine energy.
The dance is performed around a lit oil lamp placed inside a perforated earthenware pot, or an image of the mother goddess Amba. The participants dance in a counter-clockwise circle around the center, employing basic movements as they sing and clap their hands together in harmony.
The pace begins with gradual, circular motions and gradually escalates to a frantic spinning. The Garba tradition is wide-ranging and welcoming, encompassing everyone from the dancers and musicians to the social groups, artisans, and spiritual leaders engaged in the celebrations and preparations.
Garba promotes social equality by breaking down socio-economic, gender, and religious barriers. It remains open to various and marginalized groups, thereby fortifying social ties, as stated.
Cultural traditions and phenomena from India, including Ramlila, Vedic Chants, Kumbh Mela, and Durga Puja, have received recognition from the UNESCO list.
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