NEW DELHI: If any country refuses to allow India to celebrate International Yoga Day on its (that country’s) soil, then it will be celebrated at the Indian embassy in that country since the embassy or mission premises is “sovereign Indian territory”, external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj has declared.
In what is being seen as India’s yoga outreach and projection of global soft cultural power, the minister made it clear that India will celebrate the UN-designated Yoga Day on June 21 in all 193 member-countries of the UN.
It may be recalled that in December 2014, less than three months after Prime Minister Narendra Modi had proposed the idea, the UN General Assembly had adopted an India-led resolution declaring June 21 as “International Day of Yoga”, recognising that “Yoga provides a holistic approach to health and well-being”.
Swaraj had recently unveiled the International Day of Yoga logo and had made it clear that the Indian government would go all out to celebrate the day both at home and abroad.
The centuries-old Indian system of yoga, that promotes both mental and physical well-being, has become extremely popular abroad for the past several years but there have been cases recently of organisations abroad approaching courts in their countries and contending that yoga is a “Hindu” practice and tradition and hence should not be taught to non-Hindu students there.
This has triggered fears that certain foreign governments may be under pressure to discourage the teaching of yoga in their countries.
But yoga teaches and practitioners both in India and abroad have always maintained that it is an ancient system that can be practised by all, irrespective of religion.
According to news agency reports last December from the United Nations, the resolution on the “International Day of Yoga” had then been introduced by India’s ambassador to the UN and had at least 175 nations joining as co-sponsors, the highest number ever for any General Assembly resolution.
Through the resolution, adopted under the agenda of “global health and foreign policy”, the 193-member General Assembly decided to proclaim June 21 every year as the “International Day of Yoga”.
The resolution had recognised that yoga “provides a holistic approach to health and well-being” and that a wider dissemination of information about benefits of practising yoga would be beneficial for the health of the world population. – From Asian Age