6.COM 13.20

The Committee                                                 

  1. Takes note that India has nominated Sankirtan, ritual singing, drumming and dancing of Manipur for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, described as follows:

Sankirtan, practised in the state of Manipur and other regions of north-east India, consists of narrative singing and dancing woven within the framework of sacrosanct rituals and ceremonies. To the Manipuris, Sankirtan is the visible form of divinity. The art is performed in a mandala (circular area) inside a mandapa (pavilion) attached to a temple or erected in a courtyard, with audience seated in designated space according to set rules. Sankirtan is usually sung at a high pitch accompanied by drums and cymbals, which the artists play while dancing. In most forms, there are two drummers and around ten singer-dancers. A conch blower plays two conches at the same time at specific moments to produce a sacred sound. The narratives of Sankirtan are mostly drawn from legends of Krishna with every sequence of the recital symbolizing a certain aspect of divinity. Sankirtan is synonymous with worship and is part of all sacred rituals and festivals such as Holi, Shayan and the chariot festival of Lord Jagannath (Rath Yatra). It also marks important moments such as the ear-piercing ceremony in childhood, weddings and the Hindu ritual after death. Traditionally transmitted from teacher to disciple, Sankirtan is now also learned through institutionalized training.

  1. Decides that, from the information provided in nomination file 00349, Sankirtan, ritual singing, drumming and dancing of Manipur satisfies the criteria for inscription on the Representative List, as follows:

R.1:   Transmitted from generation to generation, Sankirtan is an artistic and ritual performance that accompanies the life-cycle ceremonies and seasonal festivities among the Hindus in Manipur and is recognized by the community as its intangible cultural heritage;

R.2:   Inscription of Sankirtan on the Representative List could contribute to the visibility of the intangible cultural heritage and encourage intercultural dialogue concerning artistic and ritual performance;

R.3:   Recent and proposed measures express the commitment of the State, the community and relevant institutions to encourage Sankirtan’s research, performance and the manufacture of instruments;

R.4:   The nomination was elaborated with wide participation of the Sankirtan performers, relevant institutions and the Hindu community of Manipur, and they provided their free, prior and informed consent.

  1. Further decides that the information provided in nomination file 00349, Sankirtan, ritual singing, drumming and dancing of Manipur is not sufficient to allow the Committee to determine whether the criterion for inscription on the Representative List is satisfied, as follows:

R.5:   The State is requested to provide further information to demonstrate that the element is included in an inventory of the intangible cultural heritage present in its territory, as defined in Articles 11 and 12 of the Convention, as required in criterion R.5 of paragraph 2 of the Operational Directives.

  1. Decides to refer the nomination of Sankirtan, ritual singing, drumming and dancing of Manipur to the submitting State Party and invites it to resubmit the nomination in a subsequent cycle, providing the additional information specified with regard to criterion R.5.

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