Rain again at world culture festival, Rajnath, Sushma hail Ravi Shankar (Roundup)

New Delhi, March 12 (IANS) Showers lashed the Art of Living’s World Culture Festival on the Yamuna flood plain here for the second consecutive day while union ministers Rajnath Singh and Sushma Swaraj lauded Sri Sri Ravi Shankar for conveying message of Indian spirituality and heritage to the world.

Showers and dust storm lashed the expansive area of the flood plain making the people wet. It also added to the slush created by earlier showers making it difficult for people to walk and vehicles to negotiate the bumby and muddy terrain.

The event has faced controversy over the use of Yamuna flood plain and has the AoL being asked to pay initial environmental compensation of Rs.5 crore by the National Green Tribunal. Meanwhile, on the second day, musical troupes and dance groups from several countries including Ghana, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, South Africa, and the Netherlands performed before a huge gathering at the huge seven acre stage.

Indian folk and classical dances also enthralled the audience.

The entertainment was coupled with religious teachings from spiritual leaders.

While the cultural events were held in the evening, the Global Leadership Summit was held during the day.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said the spiritual guru has “made all Indians proud with his work”.

“This is the biggest cultural event happened anywhere in the world ever… Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has made us all proud as he has conveyed the message of Indian heritage and traditions to all over the world,” Singh said.

Sushma Swaraj said: “India is lucky as Sri Sri was born here.”

“The daos of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar is a perfect stage of secularism. Spiritual leaders from all the faiths are here…Sri Sri can have such a spiritual conclave anywhere in the world,” she said.

Chief Ministers of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Raman Singh, and Devendra Fadnavis respectively also shared the dais with the spiritual guru.

Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia was also present. The three-day event was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday.

The first day of two-day global leadership summit saw participation from Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari, Nepal’s Deputy Prime Minister Kamal Thapa, People’s Party of Pakistan vice president Sherry Rehman, and former French prime minister Dominique de Villepin. Several business leaders also participated.

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, who inaugurated the forum, said a leader always walks the last, and makes everyone move ahead.

“A leader is not meant to create followers, but rather create leaders. This is the concept of Bodhi Sattva – which originated in India and Nepal. A leader will always seek challenges. Youthfulness to me means challenges,” he said.

He also said that chaos can be a blessing in disguise. “A leader has a role to play when there is chaos. Since there is no dearth of chaos in the world, we need to create more leaders,” he said.

He also tweeted to say that people from 161 countries watched the live webcast of the World Culture Festival.

Volunteers associated with the World Culture Festival said that the purpose of the event was to give the world a message that the whole world is one family.

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