Protecting Intangible Cultural Heritage

There are things that we regard as important to preserve for future generations. They may be significant not only due to their present or possible economic value, but also because they create a certain emotion within us, or because they make us feel as though we belong to something – a country, a tradition, a way of life. They might be objects that can be held and buildings that can be explored, or songs that can be sung and stories that can be told. Whatever shape they take, these things form part of a heritage, and this heritage requires active effort on our part in order to safeguard it.

Our cultural heritage does not end at monuments and collections of objects. It also includes traditions or living expressions inherited from our ancestors and passed on to our descendants, such as oral traditions, performing arts, social practices, rituals, festive events, knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe or the knowledge and skills to produce traditional crafts.

The importance of intangible cultural heritage is not the cultural manifestation itself but rather the wealth of knowledge and skills that is transmitted through it from one generation to the next. The social and economic value of this transmission of knowledge is relevant for minority groups and for mainstream social groups within a State, and is as important for developing States as is for developed ones.

In order to safeguard intangible cultural heritage, the G L Mandhani Tust and the Mandhani family is taking measures different from the ones used for conserving monuments, sites and natural spaces. For intangible to be kept alive, it must remain relevant to a culture and be regularly practiced and learned within communities and between generations. Mr. Bijay Kumar Mandhani ‘s Initiatives for safeguarding intangible cultural heritage includes identifying and documenting such heritage, research, preservation, promotion, enhancement or transmission of it –particularly through formal and non-formal education – as well as revitalizing various aspects of it.

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