I would like to extend a warm welcome to all of you for today’s event. In its 152nd year, it is commendable that the ASI is taking forward its mission of embracing partnerships for the future in order to preserve and propagate the rich heritage of India’s past. In the UPA’s 2012-2013 Report to the People, Culture was listed under the “New Horizons” chapter of our Government’s statement of work being done for the nation. Therefore, I am very happy to be here to celebrate the successful culmination of an agreement that the Ministry of Culture and the Archeological Survey of India (ASI) entered into with Google in 2013.
Last year, in the backdrop of one of India’s world heritage sites, the Qutub Minar, I had announced the flagging-off of this exciting partnership towards Bringing India’s Heritage Online. Over the last few months, teams from Google and the ASI have worked together to digitize and make available the experience of visiting the many wonderful heritage sites present across India and to tell their stories using the latest technologies available.
I have been told that this is one of the most unique cultural partnerships entered into by Google with the widest range of monuments covered under a single national project undertaken by them and a matter of pride for us all.
Today, this project makes it possible for billions of people across the world to see and explore our magnificent heritage in the virtual world.
As you are aware, the Ministry of Culture’s aim is to preserve, promote, and disseminate India’s art and culture. The last year has seen a number of celebrations and successes in the cultural sphere. Our national icons such as Amrita Shergil and Vivekananda are celebrated globally, a powerful reminder of the richness of India’s heritage and culture. Thanks to the combined efforts of ASI and the Ministry of Culture, the Hill Forts of Rajasthan were conferred the status of World Heritage Sites by UNESCO last year.
I am glad that the Ministry had the chance to work with Google’s Cultural Institute and helped launch the India chapter of the Google Art Project in 2012 featuring the National Museum and the National Gallery of Modern Art. We hope to continue working with Google, to bring more of the richness of India’s archeological heritage online in order to improve the visitor experience to our heritage sites globally via the Internet. I request you to join me in celebrating the success of this project and taking it to new heights.”