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Government Starts ‘Talent Hunt’ to Give Forgotten Artists a National Stage

Eram Agha | @erampatrakar

Updated: June 17, 2017, 7:04 PM IST
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Government Starts ‘Talent Hunt’ to Give Forgotten Artists a National Stage
Minister of culture and tourism Mahesh Sharma launches the National Mission on Cultural Mapping of India on Saturday.
Mathura: Minister of culture and tourism Mahesh Sharma on Saturday launched the National Mission on Cultural Mapping of India in the city. Under the mission, the government will hold a “talent hunt” for artists of various genres and give them a platform to showcase their talent on the national stage.

Officials said that artists can register themselves on the cultural mapping portal, after which they will be given a unique ID. Their development as an artist and their work will then be tracked and promoted by the ministry. The government is targeting those artists whose genres are not very well known and they never got a stage for their work.

“There have been generations of artists who were bunkars (weavers) Prajapati (potters) shilpkar (sculptor) who have not got their due. Through this move we are going to give them a chance to rise to the national level. It is above caste and religion,” Sharma said, adding that the launch also mark the centenary celebrations of Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyay.

Speaking at the launch, secretary culture NK Sinha said, “There is no particular definition for an artist. This is to provide all those who think they are artists a platform to showcase their talent."

Once the artists are identified, competitions will be held and the winners will be given cash prizes. The government will also provide them other security benefits like insurance.

The project is worth Rs 470 crore. As of now, close to a crore people have got themselves registered. After registration, the artist will be provided with the stage to showcase their talent as artists. This move intends to bring all cultural activity under one umbrella.

The ministry will hold talent hunt competitions with various rounds from block level to National level. A panel of renowned artists would be called in to judge the work. A rating system for artists will also be introduced. It is expected to cover 6.40 lakh villages over the span of three years.

"We would also be looking at establishing Braj Sahitya Academy. The central government had given funds to the previous state government for the development of tourism and culture in Mathura. But the funds have not been utilized,” said Sharma.

“Now, there is an efficient state and central government that will make sure Mathura becomes an important tourist and culture spot," he said.

The MLA from Mathura Shrikanth Sharma was present too, and said art was inherent in Braj and part of their life, "Even if we are out grazing our cows there is song on our lips and bansuri too. Our festivals like Holi are about song and art."

Sharma, however, distanced himself from CM Yogi Adityanath's remarks on Taj Mahal. "He said it, not me. So please ask him," Sharma said. Adityanath was reported to have said that Taj Mahal was not the symbol of Indian culture.
First Published: June 17, 2017, 7:02 PM IST
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