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Bringing India’s Cultural Enterprises to the Forefront at G20

With an exuberant display of colours, cultural performances and cuisine at the first Sherpa track meeting in the historic city of Udaipur, India commenced its G20 presidency in festive spirits. Besides convening multiple thematic discussions of global and strategic importance, the delegates also immersed themselves in Rajasthani hospitality and cultural heritage. This included the 300-year-old style of painting known as Jal Sanjhi, musical performances by folk artists from the Langa and Manganiyar communities, a visit to the Kumbhalgarh fort and getting a taste of the Rajasthani staple mangodi for dinner, with a twist of millets.

A similar experience was created in Bengaluru, where the world leaders met to initiate talks on the Finance track. During this two-day visit, delegates not only witnessed classical cultural performances but also got a chance to see the cultural treasures from the state including silk, crafts, coffee and other spices exhibited in grand setups.

These magnificent cultural projections throw a spotlight on India’s unparalleled cultural resources– both tangible and intangible–that are an integral component of the country’s cultural economy as well as its soft power.

Being one of the largest multilateral forums, the G20 provides us with an opportunity to not just merely showcase our culture, heritage and hospitality but also steer conversations on the role of cultural industries in achieving socio-economic growth. These discussions should inherently involve cultural enterprises as important stakeholders.

Cultural enterprises are successful businesses rooted in India’s cultural heritage, wisdom, and practices while also having a strong market and customer focus. These enterprises act as storytellers, conveying India’s achievements, artisanal heritage, indigenous knowledge and creative prowess in the form of branded products, services and experiences. Furthermore, using the right kind of branding, packaging and marketing strategy, these enterprises also position Indian culture in a manner that is respected and appeals to global consumer sensibilities.

In addition to this, cultural enterprises also have greater brand recall value. When presented with branded cultural products and services, the G20 delegates will not only learn and enjoy our cultural offerings at a particular moment but will also be able to purchase these products from the right cultural enterprise, even when they are back in their countries.

Moreover, cultural products labelled with the ‘Made in India’ or ‘Brand India’ tag, create positive associations with homegrown brands and in turn with India as a country of advanced manufacturing, design and high-quality standards. In this manner, cultural enterprises can also play a powerful role in evoking an emotional connection with their consumers who would take pride in taking a piece of Indian heritage back home.

Considering the potential of cultural enterprises, India must leverage its presidency at G20 to project Indian cultural brands through multiple channels. For instance, gifts, souvenirs, delegate kits, and conference collaterals can be prepared by artisanal brands in the fashion, crafts and wellness space. Similarly, chefs and food entrepreneurs should be brought together for curating gastronomical experiences, which include millets, Ayurveda-based recipes and heritage liquors using the finest quality products.


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