Preserving Culture: UNESCO Adopts Pakistan’s ‘Suri Jagek’ as Intangible Cultural Heritage

In a major breakthrough today, ‘Suri Jagek’, Pakistan’s first independent nomination age old tradition has been successfully adopted for inscription as ICH (Intangible Cultural Heritage) needing urgent safeguarding.

During the ongoing 13th session of UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Committee, held in Mauritius today, Pakistan’s Ambassador to France Mr. Moin ul Haque said that the latest development is a historical achievement. He added that this unique tradition will now be protected as element of shared human heritage and will continue to serve its spiritual purposes.

Pakistan’s Permanent Delegate to UNESCO also said that the achievement reflects new government’s commitment and seriousness towards preserving Pakistani culture, making it the centre of the development policy. He added that adoption of Suri Jagek, being Pakistan’s first ever independant nomination at this prestigious forum is monumental because it ensures better visibility of Pakistan’s rich and diverse cultural heritage.

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Suri Jagek, which literally means ‘observing the sun’, is a centuries old tradition, meterological and astronomical practice based on observation of the sun, moon and stars with reference to local topography. It was a unique cultural practice that celebrated Kalasha knowledge of nature and universe. The practice plays a significant role in Kalasha community’s observance of important festivals like social events, animal husbandry, farming practices and rituals.

The inclusion on this year’s list assures protection of the dying culture.

Pakistan’s delegation at 13th session of UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Committee on Safeguarding Intangible Cultural Heritage was headed by Pakistan’s Acting High Commissioner in Mauritius, Mr. Zahid Ahmed Khan Jatoi. The delegation also included Education and Cultural Attache at High Commission for Pakistan Mauritius, Mr. Faisal Idrees, and Section Officer at National History and Literary Heritage Divison Islamabad, Mr. Naushad Khaliq.

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