The wealth of a state and a nation is often gauged by its cultural and social advancement. Sikkim is wealthy in this respect. The splendor and diversity of Sikkim’s art, literature, rituals, culture and dances, with its lyrical appeal and richness are incomparable. Sikkim’s ethnic communities and sub-communities have their own language and distinctive folk traditions as varied and beautiful as the people themselves. These have been further nurtured and allowed to flourish aided by a series of important initiatives by the state government through the Cultural Affairs & Heritage Department.
The Cultural Affairs & Heritage Department has a vast array of functions ranging from preservation and conservation of ancient monuments and consolidation of ancient art and culture to organizing cultural shows within the country and outside. It also organizes Kabi Sammelans, Bharat Utsavs, Theater Workshops and Fine Arts Exhibition and workshops regularly in order to encourage cultural integrity. In addition to all these, the Department also promotes and encourages folk songs of the State. However, as the name suggests, the basic responsibility of the Cultural Affairs & Heritage Department is the promotion of art and culture of the State of Sikkim.
This diverse performance of the Department is spread over three sections – The Song & Drama Unit, the Archives and the State Libraries.
I. Songs & Drama Unit:
The Song and Drama Unit is responsible for the promotion of performing arts, particularly the folk songs and dances, dramatics etc. In order to take forward this mission in promotion and development of performing arts, this unit has been organizing several programmes within and outside the State in collaboration with Eastern Zonal Cultural Centre (EZCC), Kolkata and various communities and Non Governmental Organizations
II. Archives Section:
The Archive section as the name suggests, deals with the preservation of institutions and other monuments having archaic importance and conservation of the historical records and documents in technical collaboration with the Archeological Survey of India, the Indian National Trust for Art & Cultural Heritage (INTACH) and the National Research Laboratory for Conservation, Lucknow.
III. State Libraries:
The Library section is responsible for managing the public libraries at the State, District and Sub divisional level and catering to the reading requirements of the public. The sole objective of state libraries is to promote reading habits, and creating well informed civil societies. Persistent effort is being made to expand and popularize this facility in the District and Sub Divisional level.
The Department, besides its routine activities, is also responsible for establishment of new Community Centre, and running the old ones as well as establishment of cultural centres. As the terms art and culture connotes a very wide area, the departmental activities often extend beyond the broad meaning of the term.