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Deepening cultural ties: Yoga College in China attracts thousands

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Image source: edu-leaders.com

Beijing: It’s truly said that Yoga knows no bounds. One such evidence is the China-India Yoga College which has drawn thousands since it opened in November last year. It is in Kunming in China’s Yunnan province.

Based in the Yunnan Minzu (Nationalities) University, the country’s first yoga college frequently has students queue up for free lessons in the ancient art, reports Xinhua news agency.

Lu Fang, deputy director of the college, said more than five dozen full-time students have completed yoga sessions. Close to 3,000 people participated in free yoga sessions offered by the college.

“Several companies and government offices invited our teachers to teach yoga,” said Lu.

Yoga was first introduced into China by Hong Kong practitioner Wai Lana in the 1980s. Her workout programmes, which aired daily on China’s Central Television, were the starting point for many Chinese yogis.

China’s white collar workers have adopted yoga as a way to stay fit, with many attending a couple of sessions per week in the gym or studio.

Lu said a growing number of people want to learn from Indian yoga masters.

“They not only learn yoga positions, but also sutras, philosophy, culture and dining habits from the Indian tutors,” Xinhua quoted Lu as saying.

“I only knew about Iyengar style, but after extensive learning with Indian tutors, I have come to a much deeper understanding of the yoga art,” said Han Mingxue, a Chinese yoga teacher in the college.

The college figured in one of 24 agreements reached during Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to China in May last year.

Under the agreement, India sends at least two tutors to the college. It does not issue degrees, but students who want a degree in yoga can pursue further study at Indian colleges.

Velusamy Subbulakshmi, who came from India’s Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram, has spent the past five months giving yoga lessons.

She said it was not hard to communicate yoga culture with Chinese learners. “For example, the Chinese Taiji (shadowboxing), has a great deal of similarity with yoga,” she said.

“Yoga has become the most popular form of cultural exchange between China and India,” said Ding Shaoxiang, vice governor of Yunnan province.

China and India, as neighbours and two of the world’s fastest growing economies, have great potential in deepening cultural exchanges, he said. (IANS)

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A Clean Ganga Not Possible Without Continuous Flow: Green

Bandyopadhayay stressed that the future of the Ganga, as well as that of its tributaries, depends on how quickly the transformation is made

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The Holy River Ganga in Haridwar, Source: Pixabay

By Bappaditya Chatterjee

The Centre’s efforts to rejuvenate the Hindu holy river have failed to impress environmentalists, who feel a clean Ganga will remain a distant dream due to the Modi government’s failure to ensure the continuous flow of the river.

“Nothing has been done for ensuring a continuous flow of the river and also for its rejuvenation by the Narendra Modi government. Continuity is of supreme importance as the holy river has been admitted in the Intensive Care Unit for many years. But the Centre is trying to treat its teeth,” said Magsaysay awardee and a member of the erstwhile National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA), Rajendra Singh.

Spending crores of rupees for beautification of ghats has been “wastage of the public exchequer” because “without ensuring a continuous flow, clean Ganga will continue to remain a distant dream”, said Rajendra Singh, who goes by the sobriquet “Waterman of India”.

 

Ganga, travel
River Ganga is one of the holiest rivers in India. Pixabay

Soon after assuming office, the Modi government rolled out its flagship “Namami Gange” mission at an estimated budget Rs 20,000 crore to clean and protect the Ganga.

 

Under Namami Gange, 254 projects worth Rs 24,672 crore have been sanctioned for various activities such as construction of sewage infrastructure, ghats, development of crematoria, river front development, river surface cleaning, institutional development, biodiversity conservation, afforestation, rural sanitation and public participation.

According to the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, 131 projects out of 254 were sanctioned for creating 3,076 MLD (million litre per day) new sewage treatment plants (STPs), rehabilitating 887 MLD of existing STPs and laying 4,942 km of sewer lines for battling pollution in the Ganga and Yamuna rivers.

 

River Ganga is one of the holiest, yet the most polluted river.
River Ganga is also the most polluted river.

Till November-end of the 2018-19 fiscal, the National Mission for Clean Ganga released Rs 1,532.59 crore to the states and the Central Public Sector Undertakings for implementing the programme and meeting establishment expenditure.

Rajendra Singh said: “Ganga wants freedom today. There is no need for any barrage or dam. We want building of dams and any constructions on the river be stopped.”

 

Echoing Singh, another member of the now dissolved NGRBA, K.J. Nath, said the flow of the river had been obstructed at many locations and its own space (flood plains) encroached upon at multiple places in the name of riverfront development.

However, Jayanta Bandyopadhayay, a former Professor of IIM-Calcutta and presently Distinguished Fellow at the Observer Research Foundation, said the success or otherwise of initiatives and projects of any government in cleaning the Ganga cannot be judged in a five-year time frame.

Also Read: Prime Minister Narendra Modi Inaugurates Bogibeel Bridge Over Brahmaputra River

Managing a river like the Ganga, the lifeline of a very large number of people, is socio-technically a very complex issue and should be addressed with deep interdisciplinary knowledge, he added.

Bandyopadhayay stressed that the future of the Ganga, as well as that of its tributaries, depends on how quickly the transformation is made from the one dimensional perspective of rivers by engineers, political leaders, policymakers and others to a multidimensional and interdisciplinary one. (IANS)