As I check my accounts on various Social Media platforms – Facebook, Twitter, Instagrams, Linked In and so on, I still find that WCF’s beneficial Economic hangover is still on. A lot of AOL followers from other places in India and Abroad are still touring in and around Delhi – Direct addition to the Tourism revenue (and more funds for developing those places, at least technically), Income to the households dependent on tourism
Coming back to the concerns – the peddling of “WCF had a negative impact on Yamuna” line. As I keep saying, it is in the interest of many Activists whose income is solely based on Yamuna Activism. They harvest their booty over Yamuna’s death. Therefore any attempt that possibly brings attention and action to bring Yamuna back to its resplendent glory, is resisted tooth and nail.
Ridiculous to accuse Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar of The Art of Living Foundation whose work to rejuvenate Yamuna is well known. For those who haven’t read or heard (I am sure no one needs to visit this link) Check my earlier pieces (2 parts) : Critic or Profiteering – For Anti WCF Brigade – Part 1 and Part of Ecology – Protect, Preserve & Conserve – Part 2 And do you think Sri Sri would agree to host an event that would allegedly do exactly the opposite?
For those seeking a scientific and an authoritative verdict on whether World Culture Festival caused any environmental damage, here is one from Dr Rakesh Kumar, environmental scientist, and head of Mumbai office of the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute. He emphatically says, “The Art of Living’s gigantic event at the Yamuna floodplain has not damaged the river or the floodplains in any tangible way, let alone in the long term” Read the complete piece here
What was even worse – a technique well researched and established in many countries was ridiculed and opposed by these very activists you saw immediate benefits (within months) to the river Yamuna (and mankind). They opposed Ecozymes, which was manufactured by Villagers around Yamuna. Ecozymes reduced the foul stench emanating from whatever was flowing in the name of Yamuna and animals that avoided entering into it began patronizing it.
Staying on the topic, here is an excerpt from DNA’s report “A project to clean Barapullah drain was undertaken in October through Ecozymes, an agro based product developed by Dr Rosukon in Thailand with green kitchen waste and brown sugar and adopted by the AOL for cleaning environment. It contains proteins, carbohydrates, fats and high energy with ‘pH Value (pH is a measure of how acidic/basic water is) around 3 and the reports have been approved by National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL), Government of India“. Full report “ECOZYMES TURN OUT TO BE BOON FOR POLLUTED YAMUNA“
You can read more about benefits of Ecozymes in this piece: Yamuna and the World Culture Festival
World Culture Festival, , described by as Olympics for Arts and Culture by Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, churned out mind boggling numbers.
- 1000 acres
- 34000 artistes from 30 countries
- >40 Instruments in a Grand Symphony
- >155 countries participation (physically or over webcast)
- >20000 International guests
- Whopping 35 Lakhs footprints over three days
- 7.5 (~30,000 Sq m) Acres stage
- Stage built without any foundation (an Engineering marvel)
- No concrete or permanent remnant used
- 650 Bio Toilets
WCF also brought together leaders from across the world and India on one stage. Even United Nations has done this with such great ease. Remember there has been no other stage from where leaders from extremely opposite spectrum remained cordial (couldn’t help due to the positivity emanating there)
Here is what WSJ (usually Anti-India) has to say: In Pictures: Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s World Cultural Festival
And World leaders hailing this as an Event World badly needs, was no consolation to the Activists who feed off Dying Yamuna to fill their coffers. Check what they say “Art of Living event: Global leaders hail Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s World Culture Festival“
David Cameron sent his invitation in a message through his Conservative Party’s parliamentarian Matthew Offord who attended the AoL’s World Culture Festival here. “British Prime Minister David Cameron has invited you to address the House of Commons whenever you visit UK next time,” Offord said. “People say that no one can change the world but Sri Sri had made a good start. We are seeing a ray of hope,” Cameron was quoted as saying in his message. “Art of Living foundation promotes peace and understanding,” the British prime minister’s message said.
German parliamentarian and deputy chairman of the ruling Christian Democratic Party (CDU) Armin Laschet said: “Twenty-five years ago, there was a wall in Berlin and people were shot dead while crossing it. Today, there’s a wall of terror and violence between Russia and Ukraine, in Syria and some part of Africa.” He praised the World Culture Festival calling it an “Act of Understanding” which will change the world in coming days.
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull invited AoL to Australia for the next World Culture Festival. The Australian prime minister, who could not turn up for the event, invited Sri Sri through his message to AoL that Australia would love to hold the next festival.
Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos also sent a message. “It’s a gathering from across the globe to promote values and human life on earth. Sri Sri teaches us that happiness and peace which is inside us. We need to recognise it to be able to live happy. No more fear, hatred, if we only want happiness,” he said in his message.
While some folks from the Media like Zakka Jacob of CNN-IBN & Rajdeep Sardesai of India Today or even Vimlendu Jha (who feeds off Yamuna Activism) derived a sadistic pleasure (they realized it was a premature celebration) when it began raining hours before the beginning of the Event, they missed the now famous WCF Rainbow
Watch the “sour grapes” Sourdesai’s change in tone and tenor. From Sour to Sweet transformation
And Lo! Rains takes a bow and turns into a Rainbow and Sourdesai attempts to become Sweet Desai 😛 (though first one was tweeted earlier – That was him hedging the risk 🙂
And with missionary zeal Zakka tweets with glee and Alas! nature conspires to catalyze one of the biggest and popular “Hindu” (it is his take) on Earth. It is a different matter that we had citizens of all denominations and nationalities celebrating the show. Saving grace – he vamoosed from the scene post this “Eat the socks” moment.
I was witness to the Art of Living’s Silver Jubilee Celebrations in 2006 and we had fair share of naysayers even then too. Read this blog: Where focus of NDTV was during that show. A few thousand square feet of Toilet Area – not 33 Acres of Aerodrome area nor the 3 Acre Stage.
Only difference – this time it was Hindustan Times and India Today.
To Sign off: Where else and who else could have made this photo opportunity happen? Mind you! this was as cordial as it could ever get.
And thanks to Gurudev! 3 of my idols and guides were on one stage at the same time.
Finally, World Culture Festival for its success needs to thank not just those who worked and performed on the World’s arena, but those who stayed away or opposed – but for the naysayers, the Event wouldn’t be as popular.
Here is (W)ith (C)ompliments (F)rom – the Team (W)orld (C)ulture (F)estival