Kumbh Mela on UNESCO world heritage list

India’s greatest spiritual show, Kumbh Mela, has been declared Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.The decision was taken at the 12th session by UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage in in Jeju, South Korea from 4-9 December.Previously ‘Yoga’ and ‘Nouroz’ were also included in the list.
Held in Allahabad, Haridwar, Ujjain and Nasik alternatively, this festival held every four years sees a massive gathering of pilgrims who participate in the ritual cleansing in the holy rivers in India. With its origins in Hindu mythology that tells how a few drops from a pitcher containing the nectar of immortality fell on the four locations across India during a fight between gods and demons, Kumbh Mela is the largest peaceful gathering of pilgrims.

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Why US & Israel are quitting UNESCO

Citing anti-Israel bias, mounting arrears and a need for fundamental reforms, the Unites States has decided to quit the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) by end of this year, marking yet another withdrawal from world organisations by the Trump administration.

US spokesperson Heather Nauert said in a statement: “This decision was not taken lightly, and reflects US concerns with mounting arrears at UNESCO, the need for fundamental reform in the organisation, and continuing anti-Israel bias at UNESCO.” The US will, however, remain engaged with the organisation it helped set up the UNESCO in 1945 as a non-member observer state.

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Modi showcases India’s soft power in Paris

India’s soft power glowed on a radiant spring morning in Paris. Yoga, sustainable development, cultural connections, the transformative power of education and the spirituality of Sri Aurobindo vied for the attention of a mixed audience of the French and the Indian community as Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke at the UNESCO headquarters.

Amid chants of Modi, Har Har Mahadev and Vande Matram, the Indian leader, dressed nattily in bandgala suit, walked inside the UNESCO headquarters and unveiled his vision of an empowered India animated by universal education, religious pluralism, modern technology and harmony of man with nature.

He began his visit April 10 to the UNESCO headquarters by paying homage to the statue of Shri Aurobindo, India’s sage-philosopher-poet, and lauded his “belief in the unity of individual consciousness with the world outside.”

“There is much that we can learn from his humanism and spiritualism, from his belief in the unity of individual consciousness with the world outside; the enlightened purpose of education; the service of science; and, the unity of world, founded on national freedom, diversity of civilizations and autonomy of culture,” Mr Modi said.

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