Srinagar Bags UNSECO’s ‘Creative City of Craft And Folk Arts’ Tag

By Minhaj Masoodi

SRINAGAR: Srinagar City has joined the list of UNESCO’s Creative Cities Network (UCCN) and is among the 49 new cities that were added to the network, the UNESCO said in a press release

UNSECO nominates different cities every year to its Creative Cities Network based on different attributes and Srinagar city has now been designated as a “Creative City of Craft and Folk Arts”

Director Handloom and Handicrafts Mahmood Ahmad Shah said that Srinagar had applied for the Craft City Nomination, and it was accepted.

He said that they had applied for the nomination in 2018 as well but it was not accepted at the time. However, he said that this time dossier that had been prepared was strong.

“We have been trying for the recognition since 2018 in the “Crafts” category. We started the work on the dossier in May itself,” he said.

“We highlighted our work in the craft sector, the activities that are taking place and also the seriousness of the government with regard to the development of the craft.”

He said that the Ministry of culture had received applications from other states also but due to Covid, the nominations were limited. “There were four applications this year. One from West Bengal, two from Madhya Pradesh and one from Jammu and Kashmir.”

The Government of India forwarded only two applications, One for Gwalior, and another for Srinagar.

“Srinagar has been nominated because of its strong craft sector,” he said.

Meanwhile, the DIPR-JK issued the following statement:

“In a major recognition of the crafts and arts of Jammu and Kashmir Srinagar City has been chosen under the UNESCO creative city network under the Crafts and Folk Arts Category.

The inclusion of Srinagar in the creative city network for the arts and crafts has paved a way for the city to represent its handicrafts on the global stage through UNESCO.

The UNESCO creative city network involves seven creative fields arts and folk art, media, film, literature, design, gastronomy and Media arts.

The dossier for nomination for Srinagar as a Creative city was first filed by Srinagar in the year 2019 however only 2 cities Hyderabad for Gastronomy and Mumbai for Film were chosen during that year. Prior to the year 2019, only three Indian cities have been recognised as members of UCCN for creative cities namely – Jaipur (Crafts and Folk Arts) in 2015, Varanasi (Creative city of Music) in 2015 and Chennai (Creative city of Music) in 2017. For the year 2020 UNESCO did not call for applications for a creative city network.

Chief Executive Officer, Jhelum Tawi Flood Recovery Project, JKERA, Dr Abid Rashid Shah, said that process of nomination of Srinagar under the UNESCO Creative City Network was undertaken and funded under the World Bank Funded Jhelum Tawi Flood Recovery Project. This is the recognition of the historical Crafts and Arts of the City.

“It is a proud moment for all of us,” Dr Shah said.

“World Bank, JTFRP and Department of Industries did a remarkable job in projecting the city in this regard,” he said.

Director, Technical, Planning and Coordination, JTFRP, Iftikhaar Hakeem, said that credit must go to JTFRP, Department of Industries and line departments for taking up the task positively. He said consultants were hired and work was taken up in this regard to complete all the requirements.”

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