UNESCO on Wednesday granted cultural heritage status to Kolkata’s Durga Puja festival, which brought honor to the country, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Prime Minister Mamata Banerjee praising the move.
“Durga puja in Kolkata has just been added to the list of intangible heritage. Congratulations India,” the organization said in a tweet that attached a picture of the goddess with the hashtag ‘living heritage’.
Prime Minister Modi has hailed UNESCO’s decision as a “matter of great pride and joy for every Native American”.
“Durga Puja highlights the best of our traditions and ethos. And Kolkata’s Durga Puja is an experience that everyone should have,” the Prime Minister said.
A matter of great pride and joy for every Native American!
Durga Puja highlights the best of our traditions and ethos. And Kolkata’s Durga Puja is an experience that everyone should have. https://t.co/DdRBcTGGs9
– Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) December 15, 2021
The Prime Minister stressed that Durga Puja was not just a festival but an emotion.
“Proud moment for Bengal! For any #Bengali around the world, Durga Puja is much more than a festival, it’s a feeling that unites everyone. And now #DurgaPuja has been added to the representative list of humanity’s intangible cultural heritage. We all radiate of happiness!” she tweeted.
Proud moment for Bengal!
To each #Bengal all over the world, Durga Puja is much more than a festival, it is a feeling that unites everyone.
And now, #DurgaPuja has been added to the representative list of the intangible cultural heritage of mankind.
We all radiate joy!
– Mamata Banerjee (@MamataOfficial) December 15, 2021
The Ministry of Culture also took to the microblogging platform to extend its wishes to the city’s residents about this achievement.
“Overjoyed that ‘Durga Puja in Kolkata’ joins @UNESCO’s list of representatives of humanity’s intangible cultural heritage. Congratulations! It’s a confluence of the rich heritage and culture of the county’s arts, crafts, rituals and practices. Jai Maa Durga!” wrote the ministry.
The Department of State Information and Cultural Affairs of Bengal issued a statement congratulating both the people of the state and the country.
“At its meeting on 15 December 2021 in Paris, UNESCO’s 16th Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) included Durga Puja in Kolkata on the representative list of the intangible cultural heritage of mankind,” it said.
The department also noted that this was the “first festival in Asia” to receive such recognition.
“It’s a red letter day for us. In fact, Bengal is now Biswa Bangla. Our congratulations to all the people of Bengal, the country and the world. We convey our gratitude and gratitude to UNESCO for the recognition given to this great festival as the intangible of Mankind. cultural heritage, “the declaration maintained.
Suvaprasanna, chair of the West Bengal Heritage Commission, said the annual Red Road Carnival, which showcases the craftsmanship that goes into the making of Durga Puja pandals, has made more people around the world aware of the greatness that is synonymous with the festival.
“It was Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee who started the Red Road Carnival to showcase the artwork, culture and traditions associated with the festival. Durga Puja is celebrated for decades, but the festival took on a new dimension with the carnival,” he said.
Indologist and academic Nrisingha Prasad Bhaduri welcomed the development, saying Durga Puja is a “universal festival” that binds millions of people.
However, he argued that the festival should have been given status much earlier.
The annual Red Road Carnival, held ahead of the immersion ceremony, was last held in 2019.
The event was canceled this year as well as in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Soumen Dutta, one of the officials of the Forum for Durgotsab – a top organization of Durga Puja committees in the city – said that the organizers of the ten-day gala have finally received their due credit.
“Our hard work over the years has yielded the desired result. The scale of the Durga Puja festivities in Bengal is unparalleled worldwide,” he stressed.
On its website, UNESCO said that “the festival has come to mark the return or a seasonal return to one’s roots”.
“Durga Puja is seen as the best example of the public performance of religion and art, and as a thriving place for collaborating artists and designers. The festival is characterized by large-scale installations and pavilions in urban areas as well as traditional Bengali drumming and worship,” it added.