Srinagar: After bagging the prestigious United Nations Educational, Scientific & Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) tag, Srinagar city is all set for the craft city campaign.
While hoardings are already up, the new UNESCO Craft City Campaign aims to reap maximum benefits of the inclusion in the coveted list so that Kashmir handicrafts are properly represented on the global stage and artisans too get duly benefited.
UNESCO Craft City Campaign hoardings at Srinagar Airport
“As part of our new UNESCO Craft City Campaign, in the first instance, we have already placed hoardings at the Srinagar airport. We will soon finalise the finer details of the campaign and in this regard we held a meeting with the INTACH (Kashmir chapter). Now, we have a meeting with the CEO Smart City Project after which the details of the events and programmes will be made public,” Director, Handicrafts and Handloom, Kashmir, Mahmood Ahmad Shah told The Kashmir Monitor.
UNESCO tag to bring Kashmir artisans, handicrafts on global ‘heritage platform’
Though the Kashmir handicrafts are already famous, the UNESCO tag will bring the local artisans on the global platform.
Srinagar city – the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir – had earlier this month made it to the coveted list of the United Nations Educational, Scientific & Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) in Crafts and Folk Arts Category for the year 2021. This was announced on the UNESCO official website wherein 49 cities from all across the globe had joined the elite list.
“It is a proud moment for all of us and especially for artisans of our heritage crafts as their work has finally got global recognition. This achievement has put Srinagar on the heritage platform and will help the Kashmiri artisans associated with the rich arts and crafts of Jammu and Kashmir,” said Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industries (KCC&I) president Sheikh Ashiq.
UNESCO tag expected to boost Kashmir tourism too
Apart from the business community, the tourism sector stakeholders too are hopeful after the bagging of UNESCO tag for Srinagar.
Travel Agents Association of Kashmir (TAAK) Farooq A Kuthoo said the inclusion of Srinagar among 49 cities as part of the UNESCO creative city network under the Crafts and Folk Arts category would also boost the tourism sector.
“This nomination is the global recognition of the rich craft legacy of Srinagar. It is a proud moment for us as UNESCO’s nomination would further give a much needed boost to not only crafts but also to the tourism sector,” said Kuthoo.
Srinagar sixth Indian city on UNESCO list
This year, Srinagar’s application was forwarded to UNESCO on June 29 by the Government of India (GoI) and now this nomination is the global recognition to the rich craft legacy of Srinagar. Pertinently, the dossier for nomination for Srinagar as creative city was first filed by Srinagar in 2019. However, only two cities – Hyderabad for Gastronomy and Mumbai for Film were chosen that year. Prior to year 2019, only three Indian cities had been recognised as members for creative cities – Jaipur (Crafts and Folk Arts) in 2015, Varanasi (Creative city of Music) in 2015 and Chennai (Creative city of Music) in 2017.
The present dossier for the UNESCO creative cities network list had been prepared under the Restoration & Strengthening of Livelihoods component of the World Bank funded Jhelum Tawi Flood Recovery Project. The preparation of the dossier was started under Jhelum Tawi Flood Recovery Project in the year 2018 and a consultancy (Intach-Drona JV) was hired for the purpose after undertaking the consultation process with all the concerned stakeholders like the Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC), Department of Industries & Commerce, Department of Handicrafts, Artisans & Craftsmen, trade bodies, etc.