ICCR to offer online courses on Indian epics, Vedas, art, heritage

The Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) aims to disseminate the traditional Indian knowledge, including art, architecture, timeless epics and Vedas, to the global community and will soon launch online courses, and a dedicated portal is likely to be launched in April 2, ICCR said Chairman Vinay Sahasrabuddhe Monday.

During a press conference in Azad Bhawan here to share details about the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MEA) plans to hold celebrations under the ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’, he also said that a three-day craft fair ‘Coalescence’ will be organized in the city from Feb. 23-25, where artists and craftsmen from 11 states will showcase traditional art forms.

The MEA has already organized events such as the ‘GenNext Democracy Network Programme’ (in November 2021) and many more programs have been prepared as part of the ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’ celebrations, to which delegates from various democratic countries have been invited. said.

When a reporter asked him if Pakistan was an invitee, he replied: “As I said, only democratic countries are invited”.

When asked about several Afghan students who had received ICCR scholarships and wanted to come to India, Sahasrabuddhe said: “These are interdisciplinary issues, involving MEA and the Ministry of Interior. And their job is to issue visas or Our job is thus limited to offering scholarships and facilitating their entry into India, which we do when they get permission.”

The situation in Afghanistan has changed since the Taliban takeover of the government last August, leaving the fate of many students in limbo. The MEA has planned multiple celebrations in the coming days as part of the ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’ celebrations. Due to COVID-19, the schedule was affected, but the situation is expected to improve in early April, he said.

In the ongoing celebrations to mark 75 years of Indian independence, “We are also going to begin the Universalization of the Traditional Indian Knowledge System or UTIKS, which involves people living abroad through online courses, and appreciate our arts, culture and epics such as Mahabharata and Ramayana,” said Sahasrabuddhe.

Asked about the courses on offer, Sahasrabuddhe, also a Rajya Sabha member, said, “This will be our own way of running an edX or a Coursera on Indian traditional knowledge.”

“There will be short and long term online courses ranging from four hours to 40 hours on everything under the sun about Indian culture. From a recipe for rosogullah to foundations of Warli paintings, Madhubani art, appreciating the art of Ajanta and Ellora caves, understanding the basics of Vedas, introduction to Ramayana and Mahabharata, the life of Babasaheb Ambedkar, among others subjects,” he said.

The academic partner for this program is Savitribai Phule Pune University, he added. “Other institutions can join later, but to start with, Savitribai Phule Pune University is our partner. This permanent course is open to everyone and there is no age limit or anything else. And the fee will be very nominal,” said Sahasrabuddhe.

The ICCR president said a portal for UTIKS is ready and it is likely to be launched on April 2. When asked who will launch the portal, he said: “We have asked our foreign minister.” The portal allows people around the world to register and enroll in these courses online. One can complete one course and also transfer to another, the Rajya Sabha member said.

As part of the celebration, the ICCR will also offer an “Indian alumni i-card” to foreign students who have learned music or musical instruments from “gurus” in India and completed their learning, he said. On the artisanal mela, he said, this is perhaps the first time in ICCR’s history that an event of such a nature has been organized by it, as “art and culture are essentially depicted in soft diplomacy through music and dance forms.” ” .

A senior ICCR official said the Foreign Minister of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Culture Meenakshi Lekhi will inaugurate the event at Bikaner House. Several diplomats have been invited to the event.

The opening ceremony will only be attended by the diplomatic community and general visitors can visit the fair later, he said. Artisans from 11 states will exhibit various forms of traditional arts and crafts, such as bamboo art, textiles, traditional and folk art, beauty flavors and recycled products. On all three days, participating artisans will in turn talk for 45-60 minutes with demonstrations of the skill or show videos to explain their creative processes to visitors, said the ICCR, the cultural wing of MEA.

The lecture demonstration will be on Gond art of Madhya Pradesh; miniature art from Rajasthan; bamboo crafts from Delhi; Kalamkari art from Telangana; moonj grass baskets from Uttar Pradesh; Warli art form from Maharashtra and natural dye-cotton from Gujarat, among others, it said.

The Craft Mela aims to highlight how India’s craft practices can help balance the planet’s ecology while preserving India’s cultural heritage, local livelihoods and meeting the Millennium Development Goals, said the ICCR President. The ‘mela’ was composed by Jaya Jaitley of Dastkari Haat Samiti, New Delhi, the ICCR said.

Sajal Jain
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