Hamari Dharohar scheme to preserve heritage, culture of minorities.

(Dr Shujaat Ali Quadri)

One of the most significant schemes run by the Minority Affairs Ministry for the minority communities is Hamari Dharohar Scheme. Launched in 2015, the scheme aims to curate the heritage and culture of the minorities.

This curation as stipulated under the scheme of the heritage shall also include the curation of the art and literature that is specific to the particular community. It will also include documents etc.

This is because there is a lack of knowledge and understanding of the cultures of the minority communities at present. Also, keeping in mind the present scenario, this scheme would be helpful in promoting tolerance in the country.

The prime objective of this scheme is to preserve and protect the heritage of certain communities. This includes religions like Parsis, Christians, Buddhists, and other such communities.

There are six notified minorities in India, which have been notified under National Commission for Minorities Act, 1992. They are Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Parsis and Jains. Going by Census data of 2001, Buddhists and Jains have a small population i.e. less than a crore. The Parsis are even less than a lakh, hence may fall under miniscule minority category.

Admitting the importance of preserving the heritage of these communities, the ministry says in its notification, “There is a general lack of information among people about the rich cultural heritage of minority communities of India, particularly of Parsis, Christians, Buddhists etc. Good knowledge about culture and rich heritage of communities develops better understanding among masses and strengthens tolerance and social knitting.”

The aim of the scheme is also to support the promotion of various forms of expression, which are unique to each community such as calligraphy. Therefore the government will help promote such forms of expression.

The government’s aim is also to perform research and help the development of the communities so that much is uncovered about the history of these communities. This will help India learn more about them and it will also help them come into a state of harmony.

Some of the prominent activities conducted under the scheme are:

1) Documentation/Citations of oral, verbal traditions, art forms, sculpture, etc.

2) Support and motivate the people for organizing or conducting the heritage associated workshops, seminars, fairs, events, etc.

3) Support/Aid to ethnic, national, traditional, cultural, museums for showing and maintaining the heritage of minority communities.

4) Encourage the people and organizations for promoting the rich heritage, culture, and traditions of minority communities.

In order to make the scheme more effective and promote the preserved heritage, the ministry is in ‘knowledge partnership’ with national and international organisations like Archeological Survey of India (ASI), National Museum (NM), Delhi, National Archives of India (NAI), New Delhi, National Gallery of Modern Arts (NGMA), Indira Gandhi National Centre of Arts (IGNCA), United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Indian National Trust for Arts and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) and World Monument Fund (WMF).

The ministry has also decided to rope in young researchers with various projects launched under the scheme. For this purpose, the government offers fellowships in the relevant field provided the candidate fulfils the eligibility criteria. The information about applying for these scholarships is given on the ministry’s website.

(The Author is Journalist and chairman of Muslim Students Organisation of India)

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