Art & Culture Current Affairs - 2019
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Harikatha, a traditional art story-telling was in news for its revival due to patronage from various cultural organisation.
Harikatha is a form of Hindu religious discourse in which the storyteller explores a religious theme, usually based on the life of a saint or a story from an Indian epic.
What is Harikatha?
- Harikatha is an art form composed of storytelling, music, drama, dance, poetry, and philosophy in South India especially in villages of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
- It had originated from Ajjada village of Srikakulam in Coastal Andhra. Its aim is to imbue truth and righteousness in the minds of people and sow the seeds of devotion in them.
- It also aims to educate people about knowledge of atman (self) through stories and show them the path of liberation.
- Harikatha at its peak was a popular medium of entertainment, which had helped to transmit cultural, educational and religious values to the masses.
Style of Harikatha
- Harikatha involves the narration of a story, intermingled with various songs relating to the story. The subject for the Harikatha story may be any Hindu religious theme.
- Usually the narration of story involves numerous sub-plots and anecdotes, which are used to emphasise various aspects of the main story.
- The main story teller is usually assisted by one or more co-singers, who elaborate the songs and Mridangam accompanist. The storyteller uses a pair of cymbals to keep beat.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), has added Sikkim’s Khangchendzonga National Park (KNP) and Chandigarh’ Capitol Complex in its list of World Heritage Sites.
Decision in this regard was taken by the 40th session of the World Heritage Committee (WHC) of UNESCO held in Istanbul in Turkey.
Khangchendzonga National Park (KNP)
- KNP was added in the ’mixed’ heritage site category of the list i.e. it exhibits qualities of both natural and cultural significance.
- With this, it becomes the first ‘mixed’ heritage site from India to make it to the list.
- KNP covers 25% of Sikkim and is home to a significant number of endemic, rare and threatened plant and animal species including large number of bird and mammal species.
- Geographically the park includes a unique diversity of plains, valleys, lakes, glaciers and spectacular snow-capped mountains covered with ancient forests.
- The park combines the religious and cultural practices of Buddhism as well as the ecological significance of the region.
- It signifies an outstanding example of traditional knowledge and environmental preservation.
Chandigarh’s Capitol Complex
- Chandigarh’s famed Capitol Complex designed by Swiss-French architecture Le Corbusier was added in the list in the Transnational category.
- The site was added in the list as part of the UNESCO’s recognition of Le Corbusier’s architectural works in different parts of the world.
- The Capitol Complex includes the Punjab and Haryana High Court, Punjab and Haryana Secretariat and Punjab and Haryana Assembly.
- The complex was designed by Le Corbusier in the 1950s when the city was constructed as a symbol of independent, modern India.
India’s three sites inscribed in Word Heritage List
- The 40th session of the World Heritage Committee (WHC) of UNESCO, three sites from India were inducted in Word Heritage List. Earlier Bihar’s Nalanda University was added in the list.
- With this, India becomes first country to get three sites inscribed in the Word Heritage List at a single session of the committee meeting.
- With these additions, India now has 35 world heritage sites, including 27 cultural heritage sites, 7 natural sites and 1 mixed site.