The Hon’ble Prime Minister announced the ‘Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat’ initiative on 31 October 2015. It was announced on the occasion of the 140th birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. This programme aims to promote mutual understanding and increase interaction between the people of different states and UTs through the system of the pairing of states/UTs.
Through this initiative, the shared knowledge of the culture, practices, and traditions of different states and UTs will bring about enhanced bonding and understanding between the states and strengthen India’s unity and integrity.
Objectives of Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat
The objectives of the Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat initiative are as follows:
- Celebrate the ‘Unity in Diversity’ of India and strengthen and maintain the existing bonds among the people of India.
- Promote national integration through a structured engagement between all states and UTs through a planned one-year engagement between states/UTs.
- Showcase the rich culture, heritage, traditions and customs of the states for enabling people to appreciate and understand India’s diversity, thus fostering a sense of shared identity.
- Establish long-term engagements.
- Create an environment that encourages learning between states by sharing practices and experiences.
Vision of Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat
The vision of the Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat programme are as follows:
- To celebrate India as a nation where the different cultural units across different geographies integrate and interact with each other. The manifestation of diverse cuisine, languages, dance, music, movies and films, theatre, handicrafts, literature, sports, festivals, sculpture, painting, etc., will encourage people to imbibe brotherhood.
- To make people aware of modern India on whose solid foundations the geo-political strength of the country will benefit one and all.
- To impress people at large with the increasing interconnections between the constituents of different traditions and cultures, that is vital for the spirit of nation-building.
- To ease the feeling of ‘stranger in a strange land’ among the people living in different states, traditions and cultures across India.
- To bring about a sense of ownership and responsibility for the nation as a whole through close cross-cultural interactions.
- To celebrate the diversity and unity of India.
- To generate appreciation and understanding between the people and build mutual bonding to secure an enriched value system of unity.
Implementation of Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat
Under the Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat programme, the states and UTs of India will be paired with each other for a fixed time. The paired states and UTs sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs) between each other, defining a set of activities they would carry out.
For each pair, an activity calendar is prepared through mutual consultation that paves the way for mutual engagement. The paired states and UTs will carry on activities and mutual engagement in the sphere of literature, language, festivals, cuisine, tourism, cultural events, etc.
The interaction between the different segments of the people of each pair of states /UTs generated understanding and appreciation among the people, thus creating a value system of unity across the nation. The list of paired states and UTs under this programme is available on its official website.
For example, Punjab is paired with Andhra Pradesh for the year 2021. During the year 2021, a few Telugu books would be translated into Punjabi, and they will attempt to learn key words in Telugu and vice-versa. The Andhraites will hold food festivals of Punjabi dishes or perform Bhangra at staged events, etc. Such cultural adoptions between the paired states/UTs would be followed by all the states and UTs across the nation.
Suggested Activities Under Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat
- Cultural exchange programmes between paired states and UTs.
- Translation of at least five award-winning poetry and books and popular folk songs of one state in the language of the other state.
- Identification, dissemination and translation of proverbs in the languages of the paired states/UTs.
- Exchange programme for poets and writers.
- Organise culinary festivals with a chance to learn culinary practices.
- Organise educational tours for university/schools students reciprocally.
- Organise tours for the tour operators of the paired states.
- Prepare and share between the paired states a book consisting of information relating to their customs, culture, flora and fauna, traditions, etc, for distribution in the colleges and schools.
- Organise essay competitions among students in the language of the paired states.
- Organise drama of the paired states in the educational institutions.
- Exchange of information on agricultural practices and forecasting between farmers of the paired states.
- Organise combined participation and tableau of parade contingents of the paired states on ceremonial occasions.
- Broadcasting/telecasting programmes of one state on the regional radio channels of the other state.
- Organise film festivals in the paired states with subtitles.
- Showcase the wearing of the traditional attire of the paired states.
- Organise State/National specific quiz competitions in different languages on Radio/TV/ Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat website.
- Organise photography competitions that highlight the heritage and culture of the paired states.
- Encourage exposure and learning of traditional sports of the paired states.
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