Nalanda on world heritage map at last.
Archaeological Survey of India ( ASI) spokesperson Dr. RS Fonia said, " We worked very hard on it. It moved directly from the position of ' Deferral', which means Government of India needing to provide more info to UNESCO for a decision in 2017, to ' Inscription', meaning final selection, directly." ICOMOS ( The International Council on Monuments and Sites) had pointed out several " weaknesses" in India's dossier for Nalanda and recommended not awarding it the title this year.
Dr. Fonia explained, " We prepared additional literature on Nalanda to convince the UNESCO World Heritage Committee. It included a film, a flyer and much more. It gave a detailed comparative analysis of Nalanda to Oxford and other great varsities of the ancient world." All of this was passed on to India's Permanent Representative to UNESCO, Ruchira Kamboj, who spearheaded the campaign in its final throes.
" The Ministry of External Affairs ( MEA) and Culture closely coordinated to ensure that Nalanda gets the heritage tag," he added.
Hence, Nalanda -- India's official entry in the ' Cultural Category' for 2016 -- became the country's 33rd archaeological site to win the prestigious title.
Plus, there could be more good news coming.
India's nomination in the ' Mixed Category' -- Sikkim's ' Kangchenjunga National Park' -- and that in a ' Transnational Category' -- ' Works of architect Le Corbusier', known for designing the beautiful Chandigarh -- are also in favourable positions.
They have bagged positive reports from ICOMOS, which does preliminary evaluations of such sites for UNESCO. Dr. Shikha Jain, Member, Advisory Committee on World Heritage Matters ( ACWHM), a body created by the Ministry of Culture, said, " If all the three nominations go through, it will be a record for India. It will be a great achievement for the ministry and Archaeological Survey of India ( ASI)," she said.
Senior officials attending the conference told Mail Today, " Vietnam and Thailand moved a proposal for a negative report by ICOMOS to be rejected. All 21 Member countries of UNESCO agreed and voted in favour of Nalanda University unanimously." A press release issued by UNESCO read: " Nalanda stands out as the most ancient university of the Indian Subcontinent.
It engaged in the organised transmission of knowledge over an uninterrupted period of 800 years. The historical development of the site testifies to the development of Buddhism into a religion." It further read: " The Nalanda Mahavihara site, in Bihar, comprises archaeological remains from the 3rd century BCE to the 13th century CE. It includes stupas, shrines, viharas ( residential and educational buildings) and important art works in stucco, stone and metal." Soon after the inscription, Union Minister for Culture, Dr.
Mahesh Sharma, tweeted: # Nalanda an epitome of architectural excellence & learning gets listed in @ UNESCO # WorldHeritageSite. Proud moment! ( sic) On Friday, UNESCO cleared four sites: Zuojiang Huashan Rock Art Landscape ( China), Persian Qanat ( Iran), Nan Madol ( Eastern Micronesia) and Nalanda Mahavihara ( India).
Nalanda stands out as the most ancient university of the Indian Subcontinent. It engaged in the organised transmission of knowledge over an uninterrupted period of 800 years. The historical development of the site testifies to the development of Buddhism into a religion.
-- UNESCO PRESS STATEMENT ' '
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