The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) have recently formally adorned Yoga in its representative list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. The declaration was taken by the Inter-governmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage meeting held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, describing Yoga, an ancient Indian practice as a Human Treasure. It was unanimously supported by all the 24 members of inter-governmental Committee.
“The inscription and the classification of human treasure gains immense recognition to Yoga clearing as it has regress criteria in the UNESCO, the only UN body mandated to capture the intangible aspects of culture,” said Indian Foreign Ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup.
Yoga has become the 13th intangible cultural heritage that has been listed from India so far with UNESCO. Previous ones includes the Chhau dance( Inscribed in 2010), the Buddhist chanting of Ladakh ( inscribed in 2012), Sankirtana –the ritual singing, drumming, and dancing of Manipur( inscribed in 2013), the traditional brass and copper craft of utensil making among the Thatheras of Jandiala Guru, Punjab(inscribed in 2014) and Ramlila- the traditional performance of the Ramayana ( inscribed in 2008). The UNESCO’s coveted list is made up of those intangible heritage elements that help demonstrate diversity of cultural heritage and raise awareness about its importance. It was established in 2008 after Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, 2003 came into effect.
During this session, India’s proposal for inscribing Yoga as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity was forwarded by the Union Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), through the Sangeet Natak Akademi dossier. Importantly, the Indian government has continuously been promoting Yoga as a human treasure and a key to noble health. Indian PM Narendra Modi has particularly played a key role in having the United Nation declare June 21st as the International Yoga Day in 2014. The Indian Government has been taking forward the momentum created by celebration of International Yoga Day in 2015 and 2016 with greater and more active participation of youth and other stakeholders of the community. India’s proposal for nominating Yoga had stressed upon its pan-Indian and global expanse, health benefits and practised by people from all communities.