Varanasi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said culture has an inherent potential to unite, while asserting that the work of G20 culture ministers holds immense significance for entire humanity. The G20 Culture Ministers’ Meeting ended today after day-long deliberations following which a ministerial Outcome Document and Chair’s Summary was issued.
Earlier in the day, before the crucial meeting began, Modi, in a recorded video message to the delegates attending the G20 Culture Ministers’ Meeting here, said Varanasi is a treasure chest of knowledge, duty and truth, and it is “indeed the cultural and spiritual capital of India”.
He also urged them to see Ganga aarti and enjoy the delicacies of Kashi.
“Culture has an inherent potential to unite and it enables us to understand diverse backgrounds and perspectives. And, therefore your (G20 ministers) work holds immense significance for entire humanity,” Modi told the gathering of G20 ministers.
“We in India are very proud of our eternal and diverse culture. We also attach great value to our intangible cultural heritage,” he said.
Modi also said that the Prime Ministers’ Museum in Delhi “showcases India’s democratic heritage”.
“Heritage is a vital asset for economic growth and diversification,” Modi said and added that India’s mantra is ‘Vikas Bhi, Virasat Bhi’.
Modi asserted that India has been “working hard to preserve and revitalise its heritage sites”.
He mentioned mapping the country’s cultural assets and artists at the national level as well as village level, and underlined the building of several centers to celebrate India’s culture, citing the example of the tribal museums located in different parts of the country which showcase the vibrant culture of India’s tribal communities.
He also said the Yuge Yugeen Bharat National Museum, upon completion will stand as the world’s largest museum showcasing India’s history and culture spanning over 5,000 years.
In his address, he also underlined that the issue of restitution of cultural property is an important one and “I welcome efforts made in this regard”
“After all tangible heritage is not only of material value, it is also the history and identity of a nation. Since 2014, India has brought back hundreds of such artefacts that showcase the glory of our ancient civilisation,” he said.
“Cultural heritage is not what is just cast in stone, it is also the traditions, customs, and festivals that are handed down the generations,” the prime minister emphasised.
Modi in his message underlined the “pivotal role” the G20 culture ministers and delegates are playing in shaping our G20 action plan, tangible outcomes.
“Your work reflects the importance of the 4 Cs — culture, creativity, commerce and collaboration and it will enable us to harness the power of culture to build a compassionate, inclusive and peaceful future for the world,” he said.
Asserting that India is proud of its 2,000 years old craft heritage he added that ODOP (one district one product) showcases heritage while creating self-reliance.
“In the coming month, India is going to roll out, the PM Vishwakarma Yojana, with an initial outlay of USD 1.8 billion, and it will create an ecosystem of support for traditional artisans and enable them to flourish in their crafts and contribute to preservation of India’s rich cultural heritage,” he said.
The prime minister also said that India is “using technology to ensure better preservation of our cultural landmarks” and make cultural places more “tourist-friendly”. He also cited the example of district digital repository on freedom fighters drawing from across the country.
Varanasi — the prime minister’s parliamentary constituency — hosted the fourth and final meeting of the G20 Culture Working Group (CWG) during August 24-25.
The delegates had started arriving in the city from August 23, and its streets as well as ghats long the Ganga river had been spruced up for the occasion.
The CWG culminates with the Culture Ministers’ Meeting on Saturday.
The video message from Prime Minister Modi was followed by remarks from Union Culture Minister G Kishan Reddy.
Earlier, in a video message during the inaugural session of the G20 Tourism Ministerial Meeting in Goa in June, the prime minister had invited G20 delegates to visit India during the 2024 general elections and witness the “festival of democracy” in all its diversity.
n his video message to the G20 culture ministers, Modi said the ‘Culture Unites All’ campaign “encapsulates the spirit of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam — ‘One Earth, One Family, One Future'”.