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Music pitches Chennai in UNESCO list of creative cities
CHENNAI, November 8: Even as it is gearing up for yet another music season in December, the City of Chennai has already gone on celebratory mode. For, it has just been included in the list of UNESCO Creative Cities. Chennai is among the 64 cities from 44 countries that have been added to the list by UNESCO. Chennai has got into the list for its rich contributions to the field of music. This is not surprising. After all, Chennai is known as the Mecca of Carnatic music.

Chennai and 63 others join a Network at the frontline of UNESCO’s efforts to foster innovation and creativity as key drivers for a more sustainable and inclusive urban development. “These new designations showcase an enhanced diversity in city profiles and geographical balance, with 19 cities from countries not previously represented in the Network,” declared the UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova.

The Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi, hailed the inclusion of Chennai in the UNESCO list. In a tweet, he said: "Congratulations to the people of Chennai on the city’s inclusion in the @UNESCO Creative Cities Network for its rich musical tradition. Chennai’s contribution to our rich culture is precious. This is a proud moment for India.'' The Defence Minister, Ms. Nirmala Sitaraman, too, hailed Chennai's inclusion to the list.

Chennai becomes the third Indian city after Jaipur and Varanasi to make it to the UNESCO list.

The UNESCO Creative Cities Network now counts a total of 180 cities in 72 countries. "While differing geographically, demographically or economically, all Creative Cities commit to develop and exchange innovative best practices to promote creative industries, strengthen participation in cultural life, and integrate culture into sustainable urban development policies,'' UNESCO said. Within the framework of the implementation of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the New Urban Agenda, the Network provides a platform for cities to demonstrate culture’s role as an enabler for building sustainable cities.

With Chennai in the list of UNESCO Creative Cities, the onus is now on the State Government authorities and the music fraternity across the canvass to foster and showcase the rich musical heritage of this city. The city plays host to arguably the best, biggest and rich musical extravaganza - especially of the Carnatic genre - every year during the Tamil month of Marghazi (December-Janauary). Over 1,000 concerts are held across the city during Marghazi. Fans and artistes from within and outside the country head for Chennai during the December music season. There is plenty of scope to promote and foster music tourism. What is required is an institutional mechanism to push it forward. This calls for a coordinated effort from the government, artistes, sabhas and other assorted stakeholders in the chain. Chennai deserves to be positioned as the destination for music tourism. The UNESCO honour, hopefully, will give a big push to this aspiration.