Interview with MEDIAFORCHANGE.org
Our founder, Rajat Nayyar, was interviewed by Shamina de Gonzaga from Mediaforchange.org
SG: How did you come to name your project “Espírito Kashi” and qualify your work as documenting “intangible cultural heritage”?
RN: “Intangible cultural heritage” or “ICH” is a term I came across going through UNESCO’s charter. I use it to encompass oral and performance traditions, as well as beliefs about cosmogony, death, anything intangible, formless, such as knowledge, which is transmitted orally from one generation to another, including through song. There are many types of songs that are not performed on stage. This is a defining characteristic of ICH; it rarely comes with a stage and audience.
“Espírito Kashi” means “luminous state of mind”: “kashi” means “luminous” and “espírito” means “state of mind”. Kashi is also the ancient name of the city of Varanasi. People believe this city exists outside of time and space, and that, if they die in Varanasi, they will achieve liberation from the cycle of reincarnation into a physical body. We call it the biggest cremation ground of India because people come there from afar, before death, to die, and even after death, as ashes, to be thrown in the Ganges and remain formless. Read the full interview here.