Cheruthuruty (Kerala): Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday laid the foundation stone for the South Indian Performing Arts Museum at the famous Kerala Kalamandalam Deemed University here.

"The proposed museum of south Indian performing arts is expected to lead to a greater and renewed interest in the art and culture of this region. The south Indian canvas is endowed with a wide variety of traditional performing arts, including ritual, folk and classical", he said.

"Some arts forms have vanished unfortunately, while some others need to be protected and supported", Singh said.

The museum, once established, would preserve and promote the rich and varied performing arts of the four states of south India and "further it would reinforce India's pluralism and harmonised co-existence of diverse cultures", he said.

Kerala Kalamandalam, founded by renowned poet Vallathol Narayana Menon in 1930, has a special place in the cultural map not only of Kerala but also of the country, he said.

Lauding Kerala's contribution in arts field, Singh said, "Kerala boasts of an amazing variety of performing arts. Kutiyattam, the unique Sanskrit theatre and 'Mudiyett', the ritual dance drama, find a place in the UNESCO representative list of the intangible cultural heritage of humanity", he said.

Other classical forms like 'Kathakali' and 'Mohiniyattam' have also been acclaimed across the world, he said, adding, the state was home to an array of folk and tribal art forms like 'theyyam' and 'Padayani'.

"From ancient times this land has warmly welcomed travelers and migrants, who have all contributed to the development of its magnificent cultural mosaic. The tradition of religious tolerance and respect for diverse philosophies has aided this process", he said, adding, "it is not thus a coincidence that the earliest mosque, church and synagogue in India were all established in this land".

Complimenting Kalamandalam, the Prime Minister said, "from its humble beginnings, it has today established itself as a symbol of Indian cultural renaissance and has acclaimed global fame".

Singh said the institution had tie-ups and collaborations with major universities and colleges abroad and shares many cultural exchange programmes with them. All these will go a long way in spreading the richness of Indian culture far and wide.

"As our ambassadors, our artists can very vividly show-case the different strands and hues of our composite cultural fabric", Singh said.

Singh also witnessed a 25-minute show capturing the essence of Kerala culture, presented by artistes of Kalamandalam.

The Rs 8 crore museum, built over 40,000 sq ft as per traditional Kerala architecture, would have collections of documents relating to folklore arts of south India, digital library, facilities for research and different types of performing arts.

Presiding over the function Karnataka Governor H R Bharadwaj, incharge of Kerala, said the state had produced renowned scholars and scientists.

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said Kalamandalam, which had a humble beginning, has now grown up and has been appreciated world over.

Cultural Affairs Minister K C Joseph appealed to the Prime Minister to give recognition to Malayalam the classical language status.


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