BeyondHeadlines News Desk
New Delhi: Senior most faculty member of the AJK Mass Communication Research Centre, Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI), Prof. Farhat Basir Khan is the first Indian academic to serve on its steering committee and speak at the International Conference on “Indigenous Languages, Traditional Music and Dance within an Intercultural Performance”, recently held at Gannat, France.
Addressing the global gathering Prof. Basir highlighted India’s contribution in preserving several indigenous art forms and languages and the inter-connectedness of human life with culture.
Prof. Khan’s nomination on the steering committee and a plenary speaker at the conference, which is a part of the prestigious World Festival of Cultures, a festive, cultural and annual institution of the village of Gannat, France, has done the country and Jamia Millia Islamia proud.
The festival, which hosted the first edition of the conference, is part of UNESCO’s intangible cultural heritage and is a member of many European institutions for safeguarding musical and folkloric traditions (CIOFF, EMC, AMITA etc.). The ten-day event saw the participation of about 35,000 global artistes, performers, musicians, dancers, academics, art and culture enthusiasts and volunteers from across the world, facilitating interaction between the local people and festival participants and advocating a super-diversity of cultural exchanges, musical and choreographic practices.
The celebrations, which combine local culture and traditional exchanges, were initiated nearly 50 years ago by Jean Roche and his association La Bourrée Gannatoise, which gathers, collects and performs the musical and dance cultures of northern Auvergne.
Gannat is world-famous for the festival that takes place every summer since 1974. At the inaugural plenary session Prof. Farhat Basir Khan delivered a seminal presentation, where using Bihu as a tool of performance and engagement, he extolled the inter-connectedness of the human race with each other and mother earth.
Addressing the audience, Prof. Khan said, “This is indeed a proud moment for India that has nurtured the richness of Indian culture and the sheer uniqueness and diversity of each of our indigenous dance forms and I am extremely happy that now International organizations like UNESCO are increasingly recognizing the intangible heritage.”
He said “This was a call to the world to come and explore academically, socially and culturally the beauty and richness of India. More importantly, it was a call to preserve the local art forms as they existed in their natural organic unmediated formats.
Khan also made some important suggestions in his presentation for the government to consider. “It is important to encourage and promote indigenous dance forms like Bihu and support for the format as people know it, with research and writing in its origin and preservation and the impact that communities have had would only go on to deepen our understanding of the craft and enhance our knowledge about our planet. ”
Women play an extremely important role in all walks of life in India and with the first female Vice-Chancellor of Jamia Millia Islamia, Prof. Najma Akhtar, at the helm, the university would continue to excel academically. Prof Basir expressed the faith that with her vision and guidance the institution would become even more conscientious and integrated with our own immediate environment and community, furthering both grounded research as well as joint projects.
Khan’s team, won the World Photography Award at Cannes, France. His multimedia and walk-in, community participatory projects like Sandesh2Soldiers, Chiththi aayi hai, Photos4Pease and Votography have won him and the university accolades and people support.