• Wednesday, July 24, 2024

INDIA

Kozhikode declared India’s 1st UNESCO ‘City of Literarture’

Kozhikode has over 500 libraries, and has been the base of literary activities of legendary Malayalam writer M T Vasudevan Nair for several decades

Kozhikode beach (Photo: X @MoFuSpoFa)

By: Shajil Kumar

KOZHIKODE, a coastal town in Kerala state, was on Sunday officially declared as India’s first UNESCO ‘City of Literature’.

In October 2023, Kozhikode had earned a place in the ‘Literature’ category of the Unesco Creative Cities Network (UCCN).

The state minister, M B Rajesh, on Sunday in an official event here announced the achievement of Kozhikode which earned the place in the ‘Literature’ category of the UCCN.

Rajesh described Kozhikode as a city with a soul, characterised by humanity, harmony, a strong sense of justice and freedom of expression.

“These core values have given birth to the vibrant art of Kozhikode,” Rajesh said.

The minister said the local civic administration played a major role in bagging the ‘City of Literature’ tag from UNESCO after beating cities like Kolkata.

The state government also announced that from coming year, June 23 will be celebrated as the ‘City of Literature’ Day of Kozhikode, a place known for literary greats like late S K Pottekkatt and Vaikom Muhammed Basheer.

On this day, special awards will be announced in six categories, a statement issued by the LSGD said.

As part of the event, Tourism Minister P A Mohammed Riyas unveiled the logo of the ‘City of Literature’ by UNESCO.

Rajesh visited the house of Jnanpith awardee M T Vasudevan Nair and handed over the Diamond Jubilee award instituted by the Kozhikode city corporation.

Known as the city of Zamorins once, Kozhikode, also known as Calicut during British rule, served as the gateway to the coast for many foreigners, such as Persians, Arabs, Chinese, and eventually Europeans, centuries ago.

The cradle of the freedom movement in Kerala, Kozhikode has also been an important destination for book festivals for many decades.

Kozhikode is a city where there are over 500 libraries functioning, and has been the base of literary activities of legendary Malayalam writer M T Vasudevan Nair for several decades.

Gwalior is the other Indian city, among the 55 new cities across the world, which have joined the UCCN.

The new list was published on its website on the World Cities Day, which falls on October 31.

These new cities were acknowledged for “their strong commitment to harnessing culture and creativity as part of their development strategies and displaying innovative practices in human-centred urban planning”, the UN agency had said in a statement.

Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh has made it to the coveted list in the ‘Music’ category.

These cities join the list of places which received tags from the UNESCO including Bukhara – Crafts and Folk Art, Casablanca – Media Arts, Chongqing – Design, Kathmandu – Film, Rio de Janeiro – Literature, and Ulaanbaatar – Crafts and Folk Art.

With the latest additions, the UCCN now counts 350 cities in more than a hundred countries, representing seven creative fields: Crafts and Folk Art, Design, Film, Gastronomy, Literature, Media Arts and Music.

The newly designated Creative Cities are invited to participate in the 2024 UCCN Annual Conference (July 1-5, 2024) in Braga, Portugal, under the theme ‘Bringing Youth to the Table for the Next Decade’, Unesco had said in a statement. (PTI)

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