Culture reflects the paradigm of the attitudes and behaviours that are inherited by people. Cultural activities are the mirror of direct and indirect contributions to economic growth and social well-being as well as depicts one’s rich heritage along with ethics and value systems. Culture is always a propellant fuel to G20 agendas as this year’s theme of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam,” emphasises global unity by promoting “One World One Family and One Future”. Moreover, culture is considered a crucial driver for strong, sustainable, balanced, and inclusive growth, inclusive of technological advancement and digitalization.
What has been done?
To promote culture and ethnicity several initiatives have been taken at the global platform, especially in the due process of promotion of G20 by the Cultural Working Group (CWG). Tangible and intangible cultural heritage are deeply interwoven. In general, cultural heritage offers societies a foundation to reclaim their cultural traditions, and create modern identities, and future ethos of civilization. With the mantra of ‘vikasbhivirasatbhi’ which means ‘with development as well as heritage.’
To dive into the rich cultural heritage the venue for G20 Bharat Mandapam delves into the blend of rich cultural art forms involving awestruck artefacts, and traditional folk songs that depict the roots of our development and emergence of modern technology incorporated while the construction of new generational architectural Bharat Mandapam.
Relevance of Various Cultural Themes
- The first and foremost centre of attraction is the G20’s theme for the year 2023 of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam taken from the Maha Upanishad which leaves the message that globalisation and civilization go hand in hand. The traditional Sanskrit word has been given a modern touch in 3D letters with a brass finish in concentric circles around a Bindu, signifying the Earth.
- Moving towards the name of the venue i.e. Bharat Mandapam which draws its inspiration from ‘Anubhav Mandapam’ of Bhagwan Basaveshwara depicting the democratic platform for debates, discussions, and expression of ideas. India is a land of democracy and with swaraj as one of its agendas, Bharat Mandapam will provide a platform to host global events and exhibitions from all across the globe and will become a medium for conference tourism in India.
- From intricate carvings to delicate embroidery, Indian handicrafts have always outshined the domestic and world markets, and G20 will get coloured in the presence of craft bazaars on the sidelines of the venue that will showcase art forms from kashmir to Kanyakumari and from Arunachal Pradesh to Gujarat such as Chamba Rumal from Himachal Pradesh, Madhubani paintings from Bihar, Kauna Craft from Manipur etc.
- India is one of the world’s megadiverse countries and its rich culture of flora and fauna is truly represented by a Shekhawati panel that encircles the big, oval chandelier, and highlights animal motifs, signifying India’s prosperity, strength, and power. Moreover, India’s rich cultural heritage has been resembled in the style of Indian miniature paintings, with a contemporary touch that highlights the dance of the peacock, the call of the deer, fruit-laden trees, and flourishing fauna.
- India’s national bird peacock has been the focal point while laying the design of this marvellous architectural dome as various carpet designs, walls, and rooms are themed around the peacock.
- India is a land of knowledge and wisdom and the greatest gift of that is yoga is also a key highlight as an artwork showcases 32 “essential yoga asanas”, curated from the text of the Gheranda Samhita (late 17th century) that adorns India’s soft power.
- Mother country’s ardent desire to reduce carbon emissions by 2030 and promote a sustainable lifestyle is reflected in the artwork resembling Surya Shakti, which means solar power. It comprises a central disc depicting the sun with its rays spread across the entire length of the 52-meter-long wall and from this background spring seven horses, representing the life that supports the energy of the sun encrypting the message as India being a land of the rising sun and has always shows courage to eliminate the clouds of darkness.
- 2023 has been a remarkable year for India in scientific discoveries with the success of Chandrayaan -3 and the wall of fame in Bharat Mandapam also resembles the theme of The ‘Zero to ISRO’ that comprises seven monolithic discs (finished in seven different material finishes like copper, brass, iron, steel, gunmetal, and bronze) mounted on a wall made of wooden 3D triangles.
- Connectivity of people to its Mother Land has always been a unique feature of the Indian diaspora and the Tree of Life represents a true picture of personal development, uniqueness, and individual beauty along with Pancha MahaBhuta that describes five great elements — earth, air, water, fire, and space.
- The tallest idol of Nataraja made of Ashtadhatu built by famous sculptor Radhakrishnan Sthapathi has been installed at the entrance of the venue. It sparkles the cosmic energy and is a testament to India’s rich cultural heritage of dance and music.
Cultural thread of Unity for the Globe
The Cultural Corridor is an exemplary showcase of several artefacts of the G-20 nations via various physical and virtual exhibitions that will be displayed along the craft market. Moreover, G20 witnessed the blend of culture and diplomacy as Odisha’s Konark wheel became the talk of the town as the replicas of the wheel and sculptures of dancing women at the Konark Sun Temple in Odisha greeted world leaders and foreign delegates to the G20 Leaders’ Summit.
The wheel was built during the 13th century under the reign of King Narasimhadeva-I and has 24 spokes that indicate Kalachakra and this was the best symbolism of India’s time to voice its say at the global level. Along with this world leaders were given the chance to taste India’s best delicacies served with the soothing music comprised of Ragamalika, Rajasthani, and Kashmiri folk songs along with Rabindra sangeet and various musical instruments such as Jaltarang, Vichitra Veena, Dilruba etc. Devotional songs like Vaishnav Jnato and Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram also increased the pedestal of G20 Meetings.
Culture Merging with Modern Facilities
The IECC (International Exhibition cum Convention Centre) has been built at the cost of Rs 2700 crores that will facilitate India’s largest MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions) destination and promotes India as a premier destination for global business. It is the home to grand international exhibitions, trade fairs, conventions, conferences, and various prestigious gatherings.
It has numerous 21st-century technological advancements in numerous meeting rooms, lounges, auditoriums, and an amphitheatre. It has the capacity to host a gathering of more than seven thousand which is more than the significant Opera House of Sydney. It has been constructed in the shape of a shell resembling the country’s past practices and closeness to natural resources and its conservation practices that have been a part of its practice.
Bharat Mandapam acted as a platform for showcasing the capabilities of the country’s startups, as there were various discussions for a Free Trade Agreement between the UK and India that would boost both country’s economies. It enhances the agricultural strength of India’s agricultural industry as well as gives the message to the world of its modern technologies in agricultural practices via the initiative of the Farm to Fork millet experience and in numerous ways millet, an eco-friendly crop has been promoted at that level.
Socio-economic upliftment has also been the motto of various nations by promoting infrastructure for quality education and for strengthening physical infrastructure various bilateral agreements have been signed as economic corridor projects of India and Saudi Arabia have been joined by the European Union and the U.S. and launched the Partnership for Global Infrastructure. To promote the world as one family scientific initiative in the G20 satellite is being taken that will promote connectivity ties and enhance defence infrastructure.
Sustainability has always been India’s cutting-edge motto that has been reflected by initiatives such as LiFe and now in G20, there has been a consensus of adopting ethanol fuel that will reduce carbon emissions. Last but not least India’s policy of spreading peace and promoting inclusive growth has added a feather to the Indian hat as with its initiative African Union has become a permanent member of G20 that soon will turn to G21. Thus India has emerged as a top leader at the global level by promoting Atma Nirbharta and its rich cultural diversity.
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Bhanvi is a Visiting Researcher at IMPRI.
Acknowledgment: The author would like to thank Harshaa for her kind comments and suggestions to improve the article.
Disclaimer: All views expressed in the article belong solely to the author and not necessarily to the organisation.
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