Pictures & Facts Don’t Lie – #WCF2016

Presenting a joint report, majorly contributed by Rajaque Rehman, my good friend and colleague. Could not resist sharing details of the Press briefing The Art of Living Foundation held to clarify on and expose the lies that were being peddled by Obstructionist activists Vimlendu Jha and Manoj Mishra backed by Media houses, specifically The Hindustan Times (who seem to have taken it up as their obsessive objective to defame Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and Art or Living). Smarting under the resounding success of the World Culture Festival, this motley bunch of town criers who are feeding themselves citing death of Yamuna for year, but do nothing to change the situation, the attacks were incessant. While many links have been unravelled (cannot disclose them at this time, since the game is truly on now) it is pretty obvious that these guys linked up with and acted on behalf of some interests against India and more specifically the Hindus.

What must have come as a shocker is that the Media is truly split into two these days. While some Media houses (not difficult to guess) were conspicuous by their absence, the press briefing was attending by most of them. The evidences based on past Satellite images, the status of the site before and after the World Culture Festival 2016 was telling. This trump card was played well and at the right time (or wrong time for these obstructionists). Well! This must be a real education on the real Yamuna even for these 2 penny activists, who have only tried to milk this issue to line their coffers.  While writing this, we still don’t have the Transparency documents on Vimlendu Jha Sweccha Foundation website (Check my earlier blog for the screenshots of 404 error!)

Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s Art of Living made a high-pitched presentation to media in New Delhi claiming it has scientific evidence that will vindicate its contention of causing no damage to air, water and soil to the site where it hosted the World Culture Festival in March 2016.






All the allegations of damage to floodplains are scientifically mala fide. An analysis of available independent satellite images of the site taken in 2000 and 2016 clearly proves that the site had no water body or wetland,” said a statement from the organization issued after the presentation. It also added that a Survey of India’s map of Delhi dating 1986 confirms the site had not wetland.





All the allegations of drastically tampering with water bodies and wetlands for which the Art of Living is being made to compensate will fall flat and will raise serious questions about the motives behind raking up the case. Or we have to concede the Art of Living of processing an unseen power to tamper with something that doesn’t even exist!

The Art of Living reiterated its contention that all conclusions on the issue so far have been reached without any scientific studies or investigations. “Ecology, environmental science and biodiversity being established disciplines of modern science with clearly defined scientific procedures, we demand that any conclusion on the same must be based on established scientific method(s),” the statement added.



It alleged that decisions with huge implications are being taken on the basis of ballpark calculations and by casually surveying acres of land in less than an hour. It also termed the allegations of destroying the natural flow of the Yamuna as outrageous, saying the only activity over the river was construction of three temporary pontoon bridges which were dismantled immediately after the event.

Responding to the allegations of harming aquatic life around Yamuna, the statement said the Yamuna had already sunk to a pit with toxic levels which has severely affects not only the aquatic life, but also the birds that feed on them. It alleged an attempt to put the blame for years of neglect of the Yamuna on three days of Art of Living event and make it pay for it.

It also denied constructing any ramp or paved road on any portion of the Yamuna floodplains. It cited satellite images that show the existence such road even in 2000.

Saying it is committed to restoration of the floodplains if damages are scientifically established, it expressed apprehension that the compensation amount collected from it could be used up in the guise of restoring damages which are yet to be established.

Alleging that process of natural justice has been severely violated, it demanded an independent panel of experts to assess the alleged damage as per fair and scientific parameters for damage assessment.

With the Art of Living pegging its stance on standing up for the sake of saving the principle of justice, no quick end seems to be in sight.  They never expected that this organization will stand up to the bully. We are at a stage where the NGT itself may be facing an existential crisis. While it turns a blind eye to permanent structure that has been existing, it played to some rogue’s gallery who had a vested interest in trying to sabotage this world recognised event.

And as I tweeted! The Game is On! Vimlendu and Manoj’s Yatra begins 🙂

WCF (W)ith (C)ompliments (F)rom – India

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 termRead the complete piece here

File Picture
File Picture

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.

Excerpts from an Interview with a leading Daily
Excerpts from an Interview with a leading Daily


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

Buffaloes hitherto avoiding Enjoy Yamuna
Buffaloes hitherto avoiding Enjoy 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



Some name and Source
Some name and Source


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 🙂


He had MSG in mind - Pushing and shoving :-P
He had MSG in mind – Pushing and shoving 😛

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.

Prime Minister – Sri Narendra Modi ji being felicitated by Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar ji on Day 1


Dr Swamy on the Record Breaking 7.5 acre World Culture Festival Stage on Day 1

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

|Jai Gurudev|

|Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam|