The prestigious seat of learning, Shantiniketan, established by Asia’s first Nobel laureate, Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore, has been included in UNESCO’s Heritage list. It is the 41st site from India to be included in UNESCO’s Heritage List.
The decision to include Shantiniketan in the UNESCO’s Heritage List.was taken at the 45th session of the World Heritage Committee in Saudi Arabia on 17 September 2023.
Shantiniketan is famous as a University town in Bengal. Shantiniketan was established in the rural areas of the Birbhum district of West Bengal by Rabindranath Tagore in 1901. It was established as a residential school and centre for art. According to UNESCO, “the school was based on ancient Indian traditions and a vision of the unity of humanity transcending religious and cultural boundaries.”
Later, Rabindranath Tagore established a world university or Vishwa Bharti, at Santiniketan in 1921. According to UNESCO, “Santiniketan represents approaches toward a pan-Asian modernity, drawing on ancient, mediaeval and folk traditions from across the region.”
Later, Shantiniketan became the home of Tagore.
Visva-Bharati in Santiniketan is Bengal’s only central university. The Prime Minister is the chancellor of the varsity.
A total of 41 Indian sites have been included in UNESCO’s World Heritage list. 33 are cultural sites, 7 are natural sites, and one, Khangchendzonga National Park of Sikkim, has been included in the mixed category.
In 2021, Rudreshwar temple (Ramappa Temple ) at Palampet, Warangal, Telangana and Dholavira, an Indus Valley site in Gujarat, were included as the 39th and 40th sites of India, respectively.
Ajanta Caves (Maharashtra), Ellora Caves (Maharashtra ), Taj Mahal (Agra, Uttar Pradesh) and Agra Fort (Uttar Pradesh) were the first Indian sites to be included in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1983.
The Paris, France-based International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) recommended the inclusion of Shantiniketan in the UNESCO World Heritage List. ICOMOS, as an advisory body, recommends sites to be included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
The ICOMOS is an international non-governmental organisation that comprises professionals, experts, representatives from local authorities, companies and heritage organisations. It is dedicated to the conservation and enhancement of the architectural and landscape heritage around the world.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is a specialised agency of the United Nations.
It was set up on 16 November 1945.
Members: It has 195 Members and 8 Associate Members.
Aim of UNESCO: UNESCO’s mission is to contribute to the building of a culture of peace, the eradication of poverty, sustainable development and intercultural dialogue through education, the sciences, culture, communication and information.
Headquarters: Paris, France
Director General: Audrey Azoulay (France)