Nation Current Affairs 12 Mar 2016 Narendra Modi opens ...

Narendra Modi opens Art of Living festival, says it’s Kumbh Mela of art

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | SHASHI BHUSHAN
Published Mar 12, 2016, 1:20 am IST
Updated Mar 12, 2016, 10:43 am IST
Opposition criticised holding of the mega-show, saffronites see fest as coming together of huge vote bank.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Art of Living founder Sri Sri Ravishankar during the opening day of the three-day long World Culture Festival on the banks of Yamuna River in New Delhi on Friday. (Photo: PTI)
 Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Art of Living founder Sri Sri Ravishankar during the opening day of the three-day long World Culture Festival on the banks of Yamuna River in New Delhi on Friday. (Photo: PTI)

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while addressing Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s World Culture Festival on the banks of the Yamuna on Friday evening, described the mega-event as the “Kumbh Mela of art”. In the backdrop of the debate on nationalism across the country, Mr Modi said “we have to be proud of our heritage, our country”, and went on to add: “If we curse ourselves, the world won’t look at us.”

Read: Event organisers asked to videograph every activity

 

Earlier, President Pranab Mukherjee had decided a few days ago to skip the controversial event. Nepal’s deputy prime minister was among several foreign dignitaries who attended Friday’s show. But Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe earlier pulled citing some “shortcomings” in the security and protocol arrangements.

The Opposition criticised the holding of the mega-show, with CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury accusing AOL of “brazenly evading NGT orders” and deplored that the event was “being patronised by the Prime Minister himself”.

 

Also read: Traffic nightmare in Delhi as rain, Sri Sri event choke roads

This, he added, “does not augur well for the country”. JD(U) chief Sharad Yadav attacked the Centre for patronising the mega-show, calling it “an unnecessary event which will bring nothing for 90 per cent of our population”.

Supporting the controversial festival, Union minister M. Venkaiah Naidu tweeted that it “will bring glory to India” and felt that an “unnecessary fuss was being created over the Army building pontoon bridges”. He felt this so-called glorious show “should not be politicised”.

 

In his brief speech at the event, the PM heaped praise on Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and said the guru had “contributed to the world image” of India. Praising and “congratulating” Ravi Shankar and AOL for spreading out in 150 countries, Mr Modi said: “The world can be connected with human values.”

The PM spoke of India’s cultural diversity and said that “not only the economy, India can be linked to the world through its culture”.

Also read: Foreign nationals, including 80 from Pakistan, participate in Art of Living fest

 

The Prime Minister, recalling a function that was organised for him by Art of Living in Mongolia, said when the Mongolians had waved the Indian tricolour, “it was inspiring and a proud moment”.

Earlier, Art of Living founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, under attack from several quarters for “drastically tampering with the Yamuna river’s flood plains”, tried to justify the extravaganza by saying that “hurdles are created when great things are done” Responding to people calling the event his private party, Ravi Shankar said: “Someone said it is my private party.

 

I say it is true because the world is my family. When one needs nothing for himself, then he belongs to entire society.” His response was greeted with thunderous applause from his followers. Under attack for damaging the environment, the guru talked of his “love for nature” and “concern for the environment”. He also talked about global peace and unity in diversity.

Ravi Shankar’s show was mega in every aspect. Despite the heavy rain, hail and traffic snarls, the show was a full house, with lakhs attending it. Nearly 35,000 artistes from different countries performed on a stage built over seven acres of land.

 

World is my family, says Sri Sri
Even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi attended Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s World Culture Festival on the banks of the Yamuna on Friday evening, supporting the “controversial festival”, Union minister M. Venkaiah Naidu tweeted that it “will bring glory to India” and felt that an “unnecessary fuss was being created over the Army building pontoon bridges”.

He felt this so-called glorious show “should not be politicised”. In his brief speech at the event, the PM heaped praise on Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and said the guru had “contributed to the world image” of India.  Praising and “congratulating” Ravi Shankar and AOL for spreading out in 150 countries, Mr Modi said: “The world can be connected with human values.”

 

The PM spoke of India’s cultural diversity and said that “not only the economy, India can be linked to the world through its culture”.  Mr Modi, recalling a function that was organised for him by Art of Living in Mongolia, said when the Mongolians had waved the Indian Tricolour, “it was inspiring and a proud moment”. Earlier, Art of Living founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, under attack from several quarters for “drastically tampering with the Yamuna river’s floodplains”, tried to justify the extravaganza by saying that “hurdles are created when great things are done”.

 

Responding to people calling the event his private party, Ravi Shankar said: “Someone said it is my private party. I say it is true because the world is my family. When one needs nothing for himself, then he belongs to entire society.”  His response was greeted with thunderous applause from his followers.

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Location: India, Delhi, New Delhi




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