Kozhikode is India’s first UNESCO ‘City of Literature’: What does it mean? Why Kozhikode?

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In a landmark achievement for India’s cultural landscape, Kozhikode, nestled in the northern part of Kerala, has been bestowed with the prestigious title of India’s first UNESCO ‘City of Literature’. This recognition, announced in October 2023, places Kozhikode among a select group of cities globally celebrated for their literary excellence and vibrant cultural heritage.

UNESCO Recognition for Kozhikode

Kozhikode is India's first UNESCO 'City of Literature' What does it mean Why Kozhikode

Kozhikode’s induction into the UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN) under the ‘Literature’ category marks a significant milestone. Known historically as Calicut, this city has long been revered for its rich cultural tapestry, fostering an environment where literature thrives amidst a backdrop of diversity and historical significance.

Humanity, Harmony, and Soul

Humanity, Harmony, and Soul

M B Rajesh, Kerala’s Minister of Local Self Government Department (LSGD), aptly describes Kozhikode as a city with a soul. Its ethos of humanity, harmony, and a strong sense of justice and freedom of expression form the bedrock of its literary and artistic vibrancy. These values resonate through the city’s vibrant art scene, nurturing creativity and innovation.

Why Kozhikode?

Why Kozhikode

 

Kozhikode’s selection as India’s first ‘City of Literature’ is not arbitrary but rooted in its illustrious literary tradition. Home to luminaries such as S K Pottakkad and Vaikom Muhammed Basheer, Kozhikode has been a cradle of literary brilliance for centuries. Historically, it served as a pivotal point on the trade routes, drawing influence from Persian, Arab, Chinese, and European cultures, enriching its literary landscape.

City of Books and Libraries

City of Books and Libraries

Beyond its literary giants, Kozhikode boasts a remarkable infrastructure of knowledge with over 500 functioning libraries. These institutions not only preserve its literary heritage but also nurture a community deeply engaged in intellectual pursuits. The city has also been a hub for book festivals and literary gatherings, fostering a culture of literary exchange and discourse.

Among 55 Cities

Among 55 Cities

Joining the UCCN alongside cities like Gwalior, Kozhikode’s recognition underscores its commitment to leveraging culture and creativity for sustainable urban development. The UNESCO acknowledgment applauds Kozhikode’s innovative urban planning and its dedication to integrating cultural heritage into its growth strategy.

In conclusion, Kozhikode’s designation as India’s first UNESCO ‘City of Literature’ is a testament to its enduring literary legacy, cultural vibrancy, and commitment to nurturing creativity. This accolade not only honors its past but also positions Kozhikode as a beacon of literary excellence on the global stage, inviting the world to explore and celebrate its rich tapestry of words and ideas.

 

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