Putting the best foot forward: India’s cultural push in run-up to G20


If the culture is the best form of diplomacy, India is on a winning spree. Last week various events organized by the Government for the First Culture Working Group under India’s G20 chairmanship – from Adi Food Festival at Major Dhyan Chand  Stadium grounds in New Delhi to Khujuraho Dance Festival in Madhya Pradesh –showed a visible impact on the visiting G20 country delegates. India is slowly, but surely, demonstrating its might as undisputed leader of Vasudhaiv Kutumbakam which means the whole world is one family.

This is sorely needed in the time when world is ravaged by wars and extremist violence, with missile toting dictators threatening to unleash even more mayhem.

In the working group meeting, there was a  discussion on the priorities set by India in four important sessions. India put forward four main themes for this meeting. These include Protection and Restitution  of Cultural Property; Harnessing Living Heritage of Sustainable Future; Promotion of Cultural and Creative Industries and Creative Economy, and  Leveraging of Digital Technology  for Protection and Promotion of Culture.

In the two-day brainstorming, a consensus emerged among the G-20 member countries, guest countries and international organizations that took part  in the meeting that  these topics should be taken forward strongly.

Later in the evening, the G20 delegates also visited Adivart Tribal and Folk Art Museum in Khajuraho. In the museum, representative houses and daily needful things of all the seven major tribes of the state such as Gond, Baiga, Bheel, Bhaira, Korku, Kol and Saharia have been constructed and collected here along with all five cultural regions of  Baghelkhand, Bundelkhand, Malwa, Nimar and Chambal.

A day before, the opening session of the 1st Cultural Working Group Meeting  focused on discussions regarding the four priorities of the Indian Presidency which promote culture as an enabler for global sustainability and  growth with the visiting delegates.

Indonesia and Brazil, members of the TROIKA delivered their opening remarks with Indonesia reiterating that culture and creativity are at the forefront of sustainability. Following the remarks from Indonesia, Brazil assured of its commitment to build upon these priorities taking it forward in the country’s upcoming presidency. Ernesto Ottone R , Assistant Director General of Unesco for Culture talked about how the outcome of G20 working group under the Indian presidency will be a vital contribution to firmly anchor Culture in the post 2030 agenda. During the second half of the session, all the seventeen members presented their country statements.

The  session was organised at the Maharaja Chhatrasal Convention Centre in Khajuraho yesterday. The India side represented by Govind Mohan, Secretary – Ministry of Culture highlighted the need of the hour to reinvigorate protection of culture worldwide for reshaping the global creative and cultural economy in his opening remarks. Lily Pandeya, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Culture elaborated the four priority areas that will be at the centre of discussions during the meetings.

Later in the evening of 23rd February,2023 ,G20 delegates visited Western group of Temples and were given a guided tour. The  G20 delegates also enjoyed colourful and vibrant performances choreographed by the Sutra Foundation from Malaysia headed by  Ramli, at the Western Group of Temples,  Khajuraho.