Declares Vedic Chanting an Intangible Heritage of Humanity.
PARIS, FRANCE, November 12, 2003: The oral tradition of Vedic chanting
has been declared an intangible heritage of humanity by UNESCO.
In a meeting of jury members on November 7, 2003, at Paris, Mr.
Koichiro Matsuura, Director-General of UNESCO, declared the chanting
of Vedas in India an outstanding example of heritage and form of
cultural expressions. The proclamation says that in the age of globalization
and modernization when cultural diversity is under pressure, the
preservation of oral tradition of Vedic chanting, a unique cultural
heritage, has great significance.
The jury members included Dr. Richard Kurin, Director of the Center
for Folklore and Cultural Heritage of the Smithsonian Institution
(United Nations), Mr. Juan Goytisolo, Writer (Spain), Mr. Yoshikazu
Hasegawa (Japan), Ms. Olive W.M. Lewin. Pianist, ethnomusicologist,
Director of the Jamaica Orchestra for Youth (Jamaica).
The UNESCO declaration will bring international recognition to the
excellence of the Vedic chanting tradition of India, which has survived
for centuries encoding the wisdom contained in the Vedas through
an extraordinary effort of memorization and through elaborately
worked out mnemonic methods.
The purity and fail-safe technique devised for Vedic chanting in
the olden days led to access to one of the ancient literatures of
humanity in its entirety today.
The Department of Culture, Ministry of Tourism and Culture, took
the initiative to put up the candidature of the Vedic chanting to
UNESCO. A presentation was prepared by Indira Gandhi National Centre
for Arts. The Department has also prepared a five-year action plan
to safeguard, protect, promote and disseminate the oral tradition
of Vedas in terms of their uniqueness and distinctiveness, encourage
scholars and practitioners to preserve, revitalize and promote their
own branch of Vedic recitation as the custodians of their own traditions
and direct the efforts primarily to making the tradition survive
in its own context.