At the 69th UN General Assembly held at the end of September, Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a striking impression. While stressing India’s claim on having a permanent seat on the UN Security Council; Modi made a speech about India and what was eye-catching was the love Modi showed to Yoga. It’s a known fact that PM Modi is a regular Yoga practitioner. One of the key aspects of this UNGA was on how to address Climate Change. Modi specifically spoke about how YOGA helps People to People relationships and also our relationship with Nature. Modi then went on to categorically state that ‘YOGA was India’s gift to the World.’
This is very poignant, because the West – and especially USA, where the UNGA was being held has taken to Yoga like a fish to water! India’s biggest 3 exports (culturally speaking of course) are IT, Bollywood and Yoga! Whilst Indian IT usually conjures ideas of ‘Outsourcing’, and Bollywood is still exotic entertainment – Yoga has acquired mainstream acceptance all over the west. The savvy Modi realizes that this certainly gives India ‘soft power’. This also means that Modi claiming ownership of Yoga for India (this is factual of course) immediately transforms India’s image from a nation asking for UN Security Council permanence for over 3 decades in to a country (read Ancient land) that is rightfully the Teacher to the World! For the last decade as western yoga teachers found it less important to connect to India, Modi has delivered a timely statement of intent – stressing that Yoga originated in India and is her gift to the World!