An unprecedented event was held at the United Nations headquarters in New York in June 21. At the behest of Sri Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister of India, International Yoga Day gathered representatives of 181 countries in a highly symbolic place for a mega performance of yoga directed by a young lady on a stage where the presence of young yoga practitioners stood for a sense of continuity in future generations. What deeper meanings does the message of unity delivered by the Prime Minister of India carry?
Narendra Modi addressed a grand yoga session at the UN lawns in New York, in an effort aimed at taking yoga to a global stage. Pic – NDTV
By now regular yoga practitioners are fully aware of the unity of different parts of the body in the exercises, the asanas that enable a proper circulation of energy within the body and the harmony generated by the breathing techniques accompanying the physical exercises. Relaxation of tense muscles in a series of asanas de-stresses the mind and creates mental peace. Unity of body and mind connects to the energy around us and, at a higher level, is yoked to the Cosmic Energy.
But the world largely has a first level understanding of the Indian PM’s message: that of humanity as one family and is unlikely to grasp the full meaning of that unity. It may be interpreted as an idealist concept, an ideology crafted by well-wishers just as other ideologies spawned by intellectuals and thinkers in the last two centuries in a bid to create a new breed of men, men conditioned to adopt a new way of considering the political and economic system of their countries. Further back in history, centuries ago the grand enterprise to create the new man had been undertaken at a religious level. All these ideologies were forced down the throat of people by the sword, and they died out gradually in the course of time.
Humanity as one family did not crop up from the figment of a solitary thinker’s imagination on a rainy day. It is a scientific fact grounded in the observation of evolutionary human conditions and the exploration of the human spirit on the earth from time immemorial. The concept has an organic basis which other cultures lack and may not fully comprehend. It is a key component of thinking and ethos India’s Hindu civilization has bequeathed to its people and to the world.
It did not escape our notice that the message of unity is not easy to deliver in a tense political climate in Eastern Europe, Africa and the Indo-Pacific region, not to mention within India itself and the threats at its borders. Warring factions result from conflictual interests and reflect the tumultuous state of international relationships prevailing in the world. A reality which does not make the Indian PM’s message of unity irrelevant. It is a necessary reminder of the basic condition of humanity.
A mega showcase of yoga at the UN headquarters loftily towers as a huge stepping stone in the construction of unity among nations. The United Nations itself has been sporadically torn apart by lobbies vying for influence in world affairs. To put it in a nutshell, there is nothing sentimental or idealist in proclaiming and promoting the concept of humanity as one family. It should not be misinterpreted, distorted, and marred by notions which are alien to its original nature.
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Attempts to sabotage the Indian PM’s address at the US Congress fizzled out. With his usual bonhomie Modiji seduced the members of the Congress, obtained unprecedented standing ovations and a star welcome with selfies and autographs at the end. And all this after playing smart diplomacy in promoting India-US relationship, securing significant deals with the Biden administration and the transfer of technology in the manufacture of weaponry.
There is no room for moral perfection in foreign policy, and the US, despite being the torchbearer of democracy in the world, is in no position to lecture other democratic nations on human rights and so on. The promotion of US-India ties rests upon a win-win strategy for both countries with solid faith in democratic ideals. Neither is India fooled by the imperialist motive of the US to use India as a pawn against China.
After the event, former president Obama seems to have acted as the spokesperson of the three Democrat female lawmakers who boycotted the special session in echoing their favourite topic, the breach of minority rights in India. Obama, like other Democrats and the woke crowd, does not contextualize sporadic cases of violence that occur in a country of 1.4 billion population, with several languages, ethnicities and religions. Neither is he concerned by the persecution of and discrimination against minorities in India’s neighbourhood.
The fact that India is home to so many people of diverse origins and religions, a unique situation among nations of the world is totally overlooked in such hasty outbursts of criticism. The long history of cultural assault of foreign ideologies on Hindu civilization and the revival of the same ideologies today in furthering their agenda with foreign funds, mainly American, is bound to create tensions. A most befitting reply came from Johnie Moore, former commissioner of US Commission for Religious Freedom: India is the most diverse country in human history – it should be celebrated instead of being criticized.
The mega event at the UN in New York and the congressional address at Washington was a non-event for some think tanks, media houses, the BBC, CNN, Al Jazeera, French media and their likes which are not concerned about facts and reality but stick to the anti-India narrative they have built. A degree of responsibility and maturity is expected from those whose opinions are aired to the world public. Maturity comes from knowledge of the countries they feel entitled to judge rather than report on. And that knowledge is deeply lacking in many of them.
Mauritius Times ePaper Friday 30 June 2023
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