Thursday, July 2, 2015

India celebrated Yoga Day... But why stop there?

China is known for its manufacturing prowess and martial arts, Japan is known for its culture and technology, Germany is known for its engineering, France for its art and fashion and Australia-New Zealand for its tourism. 

What about India?
Only recently has India been able to graduate from being associated with Taj Mahal, elephant rides and snake charmers to a global back office, IT powerhouse, Medical tourism and space exploration. However, India is much more than these things. It has its own rich culture and heritage, which is yet unknown to the world. India has always been leagues ahead in mathematics, science, literature and philosophy; but we have failed to build upon these to create a unique identity for our country.

In today’s age of globalisation every country is a brand and the way it portrays its brand image is how people perceive it and its countrymen to be.

Yoga, which originated in India around 5,000 years ago, is today a multi-billion dollar industry. Today it has become a global phenomenon and has spread across all corners of the world. It’s high time we reclaim our lost glory.

The first right step towards this was celebrating Yoga day. On 21st June, 2015, World celebrated International Day of Yoga, with India being in the forefront right from proposing the idea to organising various events and programs at various locations across the country and overseas. The biggest event was organised at Rajpath, Delhi, with 35,985 people from 84 nations performing Yoga together to celebrate Yoga Day which is a world record. Despite all the criticisms, in today’s era, even a big nation has to promote itself to attain a favourable global perception and celebration of Yoga day was one such event that garnered worldwide attention and re-emphasized the fact that Yoga is a way of life that originated in India, a country of great thinkers and intellectuals. 

But why stop there? There are so many things in Indian culture and philosophy which can be taken to the global level and thus help create an image of brand India. And what best way to kick-start the campaign than to dedicate a day to celebrate it!

Here are few of our suggestions. You may kindly go through it and vote for the one you favour the most. We would also like to hear your opinions and suggestions. So don’t forget to type in your suggestions in the comments box below.

Ayurveda is millennia old medical science of India which uses herbs, oils, minerals and natural supplements to treat nearly every known disease without any side effects. It is a known scientific fact that plants and herbs have medicinal value in it. Ayurveda is the most extensive study of those medicinal properties and how it affects our body, thus emphasizing its use in not just eliminating diseases, but also to keep the body healthy and strong. It has been practised, followed and improved upon for thousands of years. Ayurveda has a tremendous potential to bring about the next revolution in the field of medical science and attain premium position in the field of Alternate Medicines.

Indian music is something that you listen with your ears but is felt by your heart. Music has been an integral part of history and culture of India. Indian music has multiple varieties and uses various types of musical instruments. Its history spans millennia and has developed over several eons. Contemporary music has brought new ideas like fusion between traditional and modern music. Whatever the type or style, Indian music calms your soul. It transcends the barriers of language and region. It is truly universal in nature and its soothing effect has been scientifically proven. So why not promote it by celebrating Indian Music Day and let the whole world experience the beauty of Indian Music?

If Yoga is exercise of the body, maths is exercise of the brain. Indian Mathematics has given the world more than just zeros and decimals. There are so many theorems, properties, formulas and derivations that Indian scholars have come up with thousands of years ago. There are many alternate ways to solve a problem or to reach a decisive conclusion, which is hidden in this magical world of Indian mathematics. It was developed to such perfection that even before invention of any mechanical instruments, Indian mathematical scholars were able to do complicated calculations, determine accurate position and mass of planets and stars. Vedic maths has many alternate and quick methods that could help in day to day calculations, as well as highly complex ones. So why not inculcate it in our daily lives and perform mental, written or computerized calculations quicker and with more accuracy? The more you practice, the more perfection you attain. Vedic Maths surely deserves a day.

India is a land of languages. The prominence of languages can be determined by the fact that Indian states are mostly linguistically divided. Sanskrit, often known as the mother of all languages, is considered to be one of the best languages for Space and Computer Science. As per Census report, there are 30 major languages that are spoken by more than a million people, while there are 122 languages that are spoken by more than ten thousand people. Apart from these, there are 1600 other languages which are spoken in India. Learning a language is a doorway to discovering treasures hidden in the scriptures and literature of the languages. A report says that around 220 Indian languages have been lost in previous five decades. To preserve the diversity of Indian languages and to appreciate the vast knowledge base that is yet to be explored, we must promote Indian Languages Day to spread awareness among the people on the importance of our native languages.

Well, why not? If Yoga is exercise, then Kamasutra is exercise with pleasure. Kamasutra, which was composed in 400 BC, is perhaps the most widely known (and followed) Indian literature in the world. Kama = Desire, Sutra = Bond, hence Kamasutra means ‘Bonds which fulfil desires’. Contrary to popular belief, it is not just about poses or postures; it also describes various aspects relating to life, family and love. More importantly, it shows how open minded our culture had been when it came to learning new things and transferring the knowledge in the form of texts and visuals (Khajurao temples, Sun temple, etc). Of course, if we study the scriptures and culture of those times, we would realize how fulfilling desire and attaining pleasure was considered sacred enough to build several artefacts depicting them and writing thesis on them. Alas, like all the previously mentioned cultural gems, we have forgotten about this and its time we revive the knowledge (and practice) of this great Indian literature. When we have so many scriptures and temples that have withstood the test of time and are standing tall in glory since thousands of years, why can’t we dedicate one day to Kamasutra? This will be one day which will be truly celebrated across the world with whole hearted participation.

So these were five ideas we could think of to celebrate Indian culture and knowledge. I once again request you to kindly vote for your favourite day and write down your views or suggestions for any other ideas in the comment box below.

Ayurveda Day
Indian Music Day
Vedic Maths Day
Indian Languages Day
Kamasutra Day
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This article is written by Raju Verghese. Follow him on Facebook here.