Is Yoga leading to revival of Indian culture or will just remain a ritual?

Dr VK Bahuguna

For the past few years Yoga has been given a big push by the  Prime Minister Narendra Modi and due to his efforts it has become an international phenomenon every year to celebrate Yoga day on June 21st. Before him the former Prime Minister late Morarji Desai set the tune to give government push for the Yoga by establishing a Yoga Institute in Delhi. Now the entire country is revertibrating  with Yoga all over with masses doing Yoga in large number with government patronage and participation at the level of Ministers. This year the Prime Minister and his colleagues, state Chief Ministers and their colleagues, central and state government officials participated in Yoga sessions on 21st June.  As the Prime Minister said Yoga is for all humans irrespective of caste, creed and religion. It is an ancient science and to some extent the modern physiotherapy is a minor part of the its syllabus. It is a way of life to ensure a fit body with a healthy mind to cope up with daily stresses of life. Now the entire west specially in United States lot of Yoga teachers and centers have come as wellness centers and people are thronging these centers and it has become a good business venture abroad.

2. While this is happening in America but in India on the contrary the influence of American food and Jean culture amongst the people of all shades in India is seen all over. Indian have been always feeling attracted towards western culture in thought deed and action and in all spheres of life it is quite pervasive now with media playing a key role. Many of our social conflicts and poor value systems in the society are the result of lack of proper education of our children in Indian ethos and culture. Right from the primary to university level there is complete ignorance of our ancient work, influence, values and great past. The revival of Yoga must be used by the Central and State Education Departments to revise the curriculums at all level and inculcate the values and knowledge in the children. Besides this, we need to rewrite the western influenced history to a more responsible and objective narration of our past so as to develop pride in our achievements, life style, social cohesiveness  and influence over parts of the world. We must tell our children what we churned out for those long years and how our ethos developed. We need to tell them at home about the virtues and great feats of India that existed more than three thousand years ago and not to see the beginning of history during the past fifteen years. For example, many of our believe that Indians kings were fighting each other allowing the foreigners to rape their women, beat them and loot their wealth is totally shortsighted. Most of the Indian cultural beliefs today are dominated right from the families to national psyche purely by economics and we do not  value the aesthetics, beauty, intelligence, wisdom and spiritual attainment as we used to in the past. 

3. It is near fact that not many children except a few exceptions studying in primary and secondary schools knows that the Angkor Thom and Angkor Wat was built by Tamil Kings. The world famous imposing monuments Angkor Wat temple complex was built in the 12th century by King Suryavarman II who ruled during  1113 to 1150 A.D), and Angkor Thom, a temple complex built about 1200 by King Jayavarman VII. Today, however, the people of Tamil Nadu are divided by the politicians for vested gain by raising the issue Dravidian culture. The fact is even today the same core values of Indian culture are reflected in the religious ceremonies and temples of Tamil Nadu. 

The Lebanese children are taught in their schools about how Indian elephants and sculptures toiled to make the Phoenician temple between 150 to 250 AD and wherever Indian, workers sculptures went they will make Louts in the buildings and temples. It is so well preserved that carvings of lions, bulls, and eagles are still visible and lotus hanging the lotus in the ceiling. Not many Indian perhaps knows about it. The Indonesia though a Muslim country pride its culture and respect the Ramayana as part of their proud heritage.

4. In terms of civilization culture is an idea unless the people identity with it, only then it will stir pride and find confidence. However, in today's world there is convergence of civilizations and globalization hence what is practiced by a majority becomes the all pervasive culture world over and Indians are no exception to it. Many of our present era great philosophers and saints were recognized first by the west. Swami Vivekananda became famous only after his epoch making speech in Chicago on 11th September 1893. Similarly, Swami Yoganand became famous in India after his book, "An Autobiography of an Yogi" became world famous and more so recognized by Indians. It is no wonder that Art of living Guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar is revertibrating the heart and mind of western Guru and so is Sadguru Jaggi Vasudeva is doing and many more are doing.

In view of dire need to bring cohesiveness in our society and pride in our culture we should  targeting the children and lay a good foundation of future leaders who are aware of their history and culture. It is therefore, incumbent upon social workers, educationist and policy makers to plan and convert the Yoga euphoria to rediscover pride in our own culture and values that binds all Indian to a common thread and the different languages and traditions enrich it profusely while retaining the core. However, in the modern world, there is no place for conceited self belief and by narrating these facts it does not mean to run down and forget what we assimilated about the good values of other cultures. We must remember the people without the knowledge of their history and culture is like a tree without roots. The Human Resource Ministry must include this in new education policy it announced recently

(The write is a former Director General ICFRE & Chancellor FRI University Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change Government of India; Principal Secretary/ APC, Government of Tripura


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