In its latest efforts to preserve valuable Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) traditions, UNESCO has just recognized two inventive Udaipur activists for using ICH assets to facilitate development.
Following their inspiring presentations at the 2016 World Living Heritage Festival’s Social Entrepreneurship Workshop, UNESCO-Delhi chose Merijanmbhumi.com’s Lokesh Paliwal and Jagran Jan Vikas Samiti’s Ganesh Purohit to represent Western India at their 2016 “South Asia NGO Meeting on SafeguardingIntangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) for Sustainable Development” in Panaji, Goa last week.
Chiefly organized by UNESCO-Delhi and UNESCO’s ICHCAP (International Information & Networking Centre for Intangible Cultural Heritage in the Asia Pacific), the two-day conference hosted NGOs from India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Maldives to discuss the UN’s new 2030 goals for sustainable development and how ICH resources could help achieve them.
Ganesh Purohit discussed JJVS’s work reviving heritage folk healing arts and organic traditions in hundreds of Rajasthan villages and the associated economic, health and ecological benefits. He related how this ICH knowledge resurgence had spread to five neighboring states and was now improving lives and livelihoods in thousands of rural communities.
Lokesh Paliwal introduced Merijanmbhumi’s interactive web/SMS networking innovations and described how they were being used to bridge the rural/urban divide, and sustain non-resident villagers’ support for ICH know-how and traditions. He showed how these networks can support precious but endangered art & craft traditions like Mollela’s iconic folk ceramics and the Bhil tribe’s sacred Gavari dance dramas.
Intrigued by Merijanmbhumi’s tech and potential, UNESCO Paris and ICHCAP execs asked Lokesh to consult with their own IT teams and appointed him to serve as ICHCAP’s journal correspondent for western India.
Lokesh gratefully accepted the honour saying he hoped to use it to share the ecological folk wisdom and artistic virtuosity of his region with a much wider world. He also asks people with promising ICH story ideas to contact him via his Merijanmbhumi Facebook page.