India spends less than 0.2% of its annual budget on preserving its intangible cultural heritage, and, despite ratifying a UNESCO convention in 2005 on preserving ICH, the country still has no laws protecting it.
ICH includes languages, performing arts, rituals, social practices and traditional crafts.
Now, India’s indifference to its cultural heritage in general and its intangible cultural heritage in particular are the subject of a book to be released next week by the Observer Research Foundation, a Mumbai-based public policy think tank.
China, for example, proposed 34 forms of ICH for UNESCO status between 2008 and 2011 and Japan proposed 18, while India listed just eight.
“The amount of money China spends just on its Peking Opera is what India spends on the entire north-east,” said Shubha Srinivasan, author of the book.