June 22, 2024

Lukmaan IAS

A Blog for IAS Examination




THE CONTEXT: Three prominent Indian literary works, Ramcharitmanas, Panchatantra, and Sahṛdayaloka-Locana, have been included in UNESCO’s Memory of the World Asia-Pacific Regional Register.


Significance of the Works

  • Ramcharitmanas
    • Authored by the 16th-century poet Goswami Tulsidas, Ramcharitmanas is an epic poem that retells the story of the Ramayana in the Awadhi language.
    • It is not only a cornerstone of Indian literature but also a crucial text for Hindu culture and religious practices.
    • Its influence extends beyond India to countries like Cambodia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, and Indonesia.
    • The inclusion of two manuscripts—one by Tulsidas and another in Arabic from the 18th century—underscores its widespread appeal, even reaching West Asia.
  • Panchatantra
    • Panchatantra is a collection of ancient Indian fables written by Vishnu Sharma.
    • Known for its universal moral values and wisdom, the Panchatantra has been translated into numerous languages worldwide and has influenced storytelling traditions across cultures.
    • Its fables, often featuring animals with human traits, impart timeless lessons on politics, strategy, and ethics.
  • Sahṛdayaloka-Locana
    • The 15th-century text Sahṛdayaloka-Locana, authored by Kashmiri scholars Acharya Anandvardhan and Abhinavagupta, is significant for its exploration of aesthetics and literary criticism.
    • This work delves into the theory of rasa, or aesthetic experience, which has profoundly influenced Indian art and literature.
    • Its inclusion in the register highlights its enduring relevance in understanding classical Indian theories of art and literature.

UNESCO’s Memory of the World (MOW) Programme

  • The MOW programme was launched by UNESCO in 1992.
  • It aims to safeguard and promote documentary heritage.
  • It focuses on protecting valuable archives and library collections from decay and neglect, ensuring their accessibility and preservation for future generations.
  • The programme recognizes documentary heritage of international, regional, and national significance, maintaining registers of such heritage and awarding logos to identified collections.
  • Being inscribed in the MOW register affirms the importance of the documentary heritage, increasing its visibility and accessibility.
  • This facilitates research, education, and preservation efforts.
  • The programme also raises public awareness about the need to preserve documentary heritage, engaging governments, businesses, and the general public in these efforts.
  • As of May 2023, there are 494 inscriptions on the International Memory of the World Register.
  • These include a diverse array of documents, manuscripts, and collections that hold significant historical, cultural, and intellectual value.

Regional Contributions

  • The MOWCAP Regional Register celebrates achievements in the Asia-Pacific region.
  • In the 2024 cycle, alongside the three Indian texts, 20 items were inscribed, including contributions from China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mongolia, the Philippines, and Uzbekistan.
  • Notable entries included documents related to tea entrepreneurship in China, sugar research in Indonesia, and the Philippines’ Indigenous Hinilawod chants.
  • The register also recognized significant literary and scientific contributions, such as the sci-fi feminist work of Bangladesh’s Rokeya S. Hossain and the documentation of coral reef formations by Australia and Tuvalu.


  • The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) was born on 16 November 1945.
  • UNESCO has 195 Members and 8 Associate Members and is governed by the General Conference and the Executive Board.
  • The Secretariat, headed by the Director-General, implements the decisions of these two bodies. The Organization has more than 50 field offices around the world.
  • Its headquarters are located in Paris.
  • 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.
  • UNESCO works to create the conditions for dialogue among civilizations, cultures and peoples, based upon respect for commonly shared values.
  • It is through this dialogue that the world can achieve global visions of sustainable development encompassing observance of human rights, mutual respect and the alleviation of poverty, all of which are at the heart of UNESCO’s mission and activities.

SOURCE: https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/explained-culture/indian-literary-works-unesco-memory-world-register-9331289/

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