Andamans gets a leg-up to showcase heritage

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New Delhi, May 2 (IANS) In a bid to open up the splendour of the seldom-visited Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the Bay of Bengal, its rich culture and heritage are to be promoted in India as well as abroad through areas like the performing arts, visual arts and academic conferences under a pact inked here on Monday.

The Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) and the union territory of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Monday for a strategic partnership to jointly promote the rich cultural heritage of the archipelago.

“India is truly blessed with diversity. Within India, you can see the world. Islands have a very interesting, lively and celebratory manner about them,” ICCR Director General C. Rajasekhar told IANS.

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“They have a very distinct identity but don’t get the attention that they deserve,” he added.

The cooperation will include cultural performances, exhibitions, literary events, artists in residences and other mutually agreed upon activities in the Islands.

The area has “a composite culture as people from the whole country settled there for it was a penal settlement developed by the British” during the pre-independence era,” said Ankita Mishra, secretary of arts and culture of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

“It is like a mini-India. Within the Islands, we need to promote integration,” she added.

“We expect two things: to showcase the culture of the Andamans, which are cut off from the main land by increasing their exposure quotient to foreign cultures and to give a platform to our local artists to showcase their talent,” she stated.

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She also expressed concerns about literature witnessing a diminishing trend in the union territory.

“Literature needs to be developed. There is a need to provide a platform to the people. We can invite writers to the Island to write about them on anything they like,” Mishra said.

“ICCR can help in identifying the writers. We can spot emerging writers from all over the world with the help of our embassies and consulates and the culture sector,” Rajasekhar said.

This cooperation can help to “optimse the effort” of promoting the Islands, he added.



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