The Union Minister of State for Culture and Tourism, Prahlad Singh Patel launched the Indian Culture web portal yesterday in New Delhi. The Indian Culture portal was envisioned by the Ministry of Culture and developed by a team from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Bombay, while the data was curated by Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU). Culture Secretary Arun Goel, DG ASI Usha Sharma ,and other senior officials of the Ministry were also present at the event on 10 December.
The Indian culture portal is the first Government authorized portal where knowledge and cultural resources of organizations of the Ministry of Culture are now available in the public domain on a single platform.
Speaking on the occasion, Patel said that this project is a part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Digital India’ initiative to showcase information about the rich tangible and intangible cultural heritage of India both at home and abroad, adding that India is one of the most diverse countries in the word.
We have a rich cultural heritage, but unfortunately we are just able to showcase 10% of it to the word, said Patel, stating that the portal hosts documents, images, audio-video files and other data from archives, museums, academies and libraries across the nation. Information about more than 90 lakh items are currently available on the portal.
Patel said that from toy carts of the Indus Valley Civilisation to the charkha of Mahatma Gandhi, Indian culture encapsulates the words of the Shastras and the finesse of Deccan court painters, adding that rare images of monuments, bite sized anecdotes, and detailed accounts of Indian UNESCO World Heritage Site are available on the portal.
Patel said the process of collecting and showcasing content on the portal is ongoing, and over time the information presented will be enhanced in quality and quantity, adding that, more than a repository, the portal is a culmination of the melange of Indian cultures that has co-existed and thrived for more than 5,000 years.
The content available on the portal comprises mainly of rare books, e-books, manuscripts, artefacts from museum, virtual galleries, archives, photo archives, gazetteers, Indian National Bibliography, videos, images, cuisine, and Musical Instruments of India.
The Ministry of Culture has been actively involved in facilitating data collection from various organizations, said Patel, adding that one of the unique features of the portal is the stories, based on original archival documents narrated in an interesting, easy to read and understand format.
The portal also contains write-ups and pictures on cuisines, festivals, paintings, folk art and classical art from different states of India. Information about rare books, manuscripts and research papers on India’s cultural heritage is also available on this portal.
The content on the portal is available in English and Hindi language in an interactive, user-friendly interface. The portal also will be available in other regional languages in future. The larger aim of the Indian Culture portal is to create awareness among citizens about the diverse heritage of the country.