Yoga joins race for UNESCO honour, ‘sport’ tag an impediment

Yoga joins race for UNESCO honour sport tag an impediment pardesi news 1459247763

AFTER making enough headlines with the International Yoga Day, India is pushing to get the practice added to the prestigious Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) list.

Recently, a dossier nominating yoga for the next Representative List of the ICH was sent to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the specialized agency of the United Nations promoting international peace and universal respect for human rights by promoting collaboration among nations. Importantly, the umbrella term yoga includes religion, philosophy, and practices.

The Sangeet Natak Akademi (SNA), which looks after the elusive cultural heritage of India, has dispatched an in depth report to UNESCO, stressing the international, expanse of yoga, the well being advantages and the way it's practised through all communities and religions, across the globe.

After seeing the UN’s and the world’s response to the first-ever Yoga Day in June, the government is confident of the ‘ancient Indian practice’ making it to the prestigious list…There have been different indigenous pieces being thought to be for nomination, together with some uncommon musical and dance traditions, however the committee made up our minds to appoint yoga on a concern foundation, over and above the whole thing else,” stated Helen Acharya, Secretary, SNA.

Each country can nominate only one item every two years. Since thatheras (the community of copper and brass utensil makers based in Punjab) were inscribed on the list in 2014, India can’t compete this year. That is why for yoga to be inscribed on the list, we have to wait till 2016”, added Acharya.

But there is a spanner in the works. Only recently, the Indian government has recognized yoga as an ‘Olympic sport’. According to the UNESCO’s definition, “intangible cultural heritage is manifested as oral traditions and expressions, performing arts, social practices, rituals and festive events, knowledge and practices, and traditional craftsmanship”. With yoga being declared as a sport, it may not fall in any of the above categories for eligibility as a ‘cultural heritage’.

This recent development can affect the nomination of yoga for the Representative ICH list, however the caveat is that dossier was sent much before yoga was declared as a sport. It will now depend on the subjective opinion of the jury members involved, whether they take the new move into consideration or not. The result for India’s bid will be announced by next December, 2016.

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Patrick Callahan

Pardesi News Reporter

Pardesi News Reporter

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