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Articles 23, 23A and 24 of the Constitution of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh (enacted in 1972), the Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy Act, 1989 (amended through a New Act of Parliament in 1989), the Bangladesh National Museum Ordinance, 1983, the Bangladesh Folk Arts and Crafts Foundation Act, 1998, the Cultural Policy 2006, the Act for the Cultural Institutions of the Small Ethnic Communities, 2010 and the Bangla Academy Act, 2013 manifest inter alia the legislative measures for the implementation of the 2003 Convention.
Bangla Academy is the foremost institution directly engaged in extensive fieldwork to come into close contact with the ICH communities throughout the country and in research and documentation to facilitate the safeguarding of the intangible cultural heritage in Bangladesh. Formally inaugurated on 3 December 1955, it emerged as an outcome of the Language Movement which had reached its climax on 21 February 1952. The Language Movement was crucial to the safeguarding of Bengali culture. As the struggle of the Bengalis for cultural freedom and political independence gained its momentum in the late 1960s, Bangla Academy, by virtue of its historic position as the epitome of Bengali resurgence, not only heightened the conscious fostering of a common linguistic medium for Bengali solidarity but also sharpened Bengali nationalism through its various activities of cultural awakening, especially its annual Ekushe celebration, the celebration of Pahela Baishakh (the first day of the Bangla New Year), and the promotion of many other elements of the intangible cultural heritage. After the emergence of Bangladesh in 1971 the Bangla Academy Order 1972 was promulgated to raise its status to the National Academy of Arts and Letters. This National Academy of Arts and Letters was reconstituted and strengthened by an Act of Parliament on 22 September 2013 to expand its sphere of activities. This new legislative measure enables Bangla Academy to spearhead, among other functions, ICH management in Bangladesh on a national scale.
Bangladesh Shilpakala Aacdemy conducts basic studies and research that will be useful for the safeguarding and transmission of the performing arts, one of the major domains of the intangible cultural heritage in Bangladesh, creates audio-visual records, and develops new methods of creating such records. The Bangladesh National Museum collects, preserves, documents and displays, among many other items, objects of ethnographical interest and specimens of traditional arts and crafts. It also publishes catalogues and books on such objects.
The Bangladesh Arts and Crafts Foundation is directly involved in the collection and preservation of objects relating to traditional craftsmanship, in maintaining a Museum of Folk Art and an Artisan Village, and in recognizing and rewarding master artists.
The process of inventorying the intangible cultural heritage in Bangladesh had begun even before Bangladesh ratified the 2003 Convention. In 2005-2006, the Asiatic Society of Bangladesh, the premier learned organization in Bangladesh, conducted a cultural survey for an in-depth documentation of Bangladesh’s cultural history, tradition and heritage. The Ministry of Cultural Affairs fully funded this cultural survey and the publication of its results in 12 volumes. In 2012, the Ministry of Cultural Affairs, which represents the State Party for the implementation of the 2003 Convention, adopted “Living Traditions,” the 11th Volume (published in 2007) of this cultural survey, as the National Inventory of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Bangladesh. The Intergovernmental Committee of UNESCO for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage accepted “Living Traditions” as Bangladesh’s National Inventory for inscription of Traditional Art of Jamdani Weaving and Mangal Shobhajatra on Pahela Baishakh on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2013 and 2016 respectively.