Project Mausam is considered as the most important policy of the Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi to counter the China’s Maritime Silk Road project. China is attracting various countries like Sri Lanka and the Maldives which may push back the Indian relations with these counties.
Though India looked forward to join the China’s Maritime Silk Road project for its own benefit to raise the economic condition of the country but the result of forming a different project will benefit the economy and also raise the status among other countries.
By establishing an independent project to reconnect with other countries, the country will enjoy playing a unique role and identity in the India Ocean and linked countries in the matter of trade and sharing cultural heritage. The entire project is based on the traditional monsoon routes which was opted by the ancient sailors.
The project is determined to have both the cultural and the serious aspects. The project is a positive step of India to expand its maritime presence in all directions and will in turn get positive results from the project. The project was launched in the 38th Session of World Heritage Committee meeting which took place at Doha in June, 2014.
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What is Project Mausam?
Project Mausam was started by the Ministry Of Culture which is supposed to be implemented by the Archaeological Survey of India with the research help and support of Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts and National Museum as the associate bodies. Project Mausam is concerned to create cultural link with the country’s maritime neighbours. The objective of the Project can be divided into two parts:
- Focusing in Making Connection With Other Countries: At the initial level the project focus on taking initiative to understand the cultural values of the Indian Ocean Rim Associate counties (IOR-ARC) by reconnecting with them.
- Develop Understanding of Cultures Within Country: It starts at a localised level enabling an understanding of the cultures prevalent within the boundaries of the countries or we can say a regional maritime milieu.
To sum up what project Mausam is, go through the points given below:
- Project Mausam is implemented by the Archaeological Survey of India as a top agency.
- The Archaeological Survey of India gets the research support from the Indira Gandhi Centre for the Arts and the National Museum as its associate bodies.
- There are 39 countries which are identified by the Government of India which will be the part of the trans-national world heritage nomination.
- The aim of this project is to look into the different faces of Indian Ocean countries and initiating archaeological and historical research to pen down the diversification of culture, commerce and religious interaction in the countries which share their boundaries with the Indian Ocean.
- The scheme also promotes research work to know how the maritime routes were established in the ancient period and educating about them through seminars and meetings by co-operating with each other.
Why Project Mausam?
This is a complete different idea which shows a Transnational Mixed Route which include the domestic and world’s natural and cultural heritage. The countries like China, Iran, Myanmar, Vietnam etc appreciated this initiative and have shown interest in these cultural projects. The project determines to reconnect with other countries and establish health cultural relationship with them.
The project focuses on the natural wind phenomenon more specifically on the monsoon winds which are considered and used at the ancient times by the Indian sailors to have maritime trade and form health relations with other nations which are connected by the Indian Ocean.
With the same purpose which was served at the ancient times, the project proposed to expand the Indian Ocean relations with other countries. The project expands from East Africa, the Peninsula, the Indian Sub continent and Sri Lanka to the Southeast Asian group of islands.
Therefore, Project Mausam was started with aim to establish cross cultural linkage and to revise rewind the memories of the historic maritime cultural and economic ties with around 39 countries which are present in the Indian Ocean.
The project is dedicated to explore diverse faces which are present in the Indian Ocean and will study the cultural heritage and the historical routes and other developments which took place till now.
1. Reconnecting With Lost Links
Going through the pages of history, we encounter that the countries which are near the Indian Ocean had shared links since a very long time. With the change in time, some of these links washed off or loosened and to revive the same Project Mausam have been started. Through this project, the nation will document and celebrate the homogeneous culture which they shared. This will strengthen the current ties between the countries and also help to create cooperation in future.
2. Forming Links to World Heritage Sites
This program provides the nations a platform to connect the cultural sites which are present around the Indian Ocean by providing cross cultural, transnational narratives.
3. The Cultural Landscapes
Under the cultural landscape, the nations not only look into the ancient sites but also the modern ones. They try to interlink both the ancient and traditional sites for a multi facet understanding of different cultures prevalent in the nation and their development over the period of time.
4. Transnational Nomination Under World Heritage
The program devotes to promote sustainable tourism, research, preservation of cultural heritage around the Indian Ocean which will increase the scope of visibility.
Project Mausam and UNESCO
India is an active member of UNESCO after being a signatory to the World Heritage Convention Since 1977 and since that India is working to preserve the world heritage.
Project Mausam will support UNESCO in the sense that it will change the perspective and methods of preserving the world heritage sites and welcoming creative ideas for the same. This project will enable the countries which share the Indian Ocean to interconnect with each other and take important stands in promoting the activities of UNESCO in persevering art, museums, collecting funds, perform cultural events etc.
Themes to be explored under the Project Mausam
- Coastal Architecture as cultural landscapes and their transformation from the third millennium BCE till the Colonial period.
- Movable Heritage and Artefacts like inscription, memorial stones, and other objects of archaeological importance.
- Maritime museums
- Underwater Cultural Sites and their preservation
- The world of sailing ships which include the boat building yards in Zanzibar, Oman, Kutch, Karnataka, and South Sulawesi.
- Spice route trade and cultural production
- Protecting the tangible cultural heritage like rites, rituals and cuisines.
- Protecting the pilgrimage and religious travel across the ocean.
- Protecting the oral traditions and literary writings.
Objectives of the Project Mausam
The following are the objectives of the project Mausam
- The foremost objective of the Project is to develop a Web Platform on the site of the UNESCO.
- To foster documentation and research on Indian Ocean Maritime Route through the help of regional, national and international resources for creating a database for different schemes and functions.
- The Project Mausam is looking forward to establish a Research Unit in New Delhi which will be working out the research work and strengthening the research network in those nations which are parts of this project. This Research Unit will coordinate with the member states and help them to host periodic workshops, organise exhibitions and meeting in various cities and publish their research work on various topics connected with the Maritime Routes Project.
- The program will also promote sustainable tourism initiatives along with Maritime Routes.
Activities of Project Mausam
- The project establishes valid documentation and research standards for each and every component sites of the serial and trans-boundary nomination of the Maritime Routes Project.
- Selecting the standard of documentation and geophysical survey method of maritime routes and capacity building of the same.
- Providing onsite training in approaching the site documentation and management with UNESCO category (2) centers located in Bahrain and India.
- Nomination of projects through series of workshops.
- Digitalization of the Archives.
- Publishing the result of the project and research activities.
- Improving partnership and development of various networks between institution and experts at regional, national and international level.
Achievements of Project Mausam
- A publication with the title Mausam: Maritime Cultural Landscapes Across the Indian Ocean was edited by professor Himanshu Prabha Ray.
- A total number of nineteen lectures were held in relation to the Project Mausam which are ready to publish.
- An exhibition was held October November, 2014 in the IGNCA on “Africans in India: A rediscovery.”
- On 15th October 2014, a one day conference was held at IGNCA on “Africans in India: A rediscovery”.
- On 19th November 2014 a National Conference was organized by Archaeological Survey of India at Kochi, Kerala on the theme “Cultural Landscape and Maritime trade routes of India” in which the IGNCA also participated.
- On 28th November 2014, an exhibition was held at National Museum on “Unearthing Pattanam: Histories, Cultures and Crossings”.
- Another conference was held at National Museum on “the making of the Indian Subcontinent: Indian Ocean Perspective”.
- On 16th February, 2016 an International Conference was by the ASI and IGNCA on “Maritime routes and cultural landscapes”.
- Symposium on “Maritime Culture of India and its Potential” on 28th January 2017.
- A Brainstorming session was organised on 18th June 2018 in the IGNCA at New Delhi for creation of a database of the Coastal Sites.
- The director of the World Heritage visited Myanmar, Cambodia and Vietnam between 8th and 25th March 2016 to explore all the possibilities available to collaborate under Project Mausam.
- Various seminars and academics have been taken place in member countries.