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Address by Minister of State for External Affairs, Smt. Meenakashi Lekhi at the eighth edition of Good Governance Day celebrations

December 21, 2021

Good afternoon everyone, and before I start, first let me thank everyone for being present in celebrating the good governance day, and as a segment of good governance we have chosen to celebrate yoga and International day of Yoga. Why so? And what is good governance? And what is Ministry of External Affairs doing so far as delivery mechanisms are concerned?

As a common citizen of this country I would say that when I look at Ministry of External Affairs, what would good governance mean to a person who is an outsider? A person who is an outsider, would always want country to be promoted across the globe and in all its positivity. And one of the positive component of our country would be the soft power that India has not just in its neighbourhood but across the globe – All the good things that India has offered to the world at large and one such factor being Yoga.

And as in the preceding sessions and also just now our DG ICCR mentioned in his statement that how Prime Minister Modi made a statement in 2014 at the UN and how within a period of 7-8 months it was converted into International Day of Yoga. I think in the history of UN itself, this must be one of the largest events where all the countries came together. And as Ministry of External Affairs it was our duty to bring the ethos of India to the globe and also stamp it in a softer way, that this is what our country stands for.

Very nicely put across by our Ambassador in Kuala Lumpur that some political entities try to label it as Haram and battling that mind set is something which all of you have tried to achieve and tried to do. And as a common citizen of this country I would say, I felt really proud of my Ministry that they are doing a good job. I felt really proud of my Prime Minister that he has tried to put India on the world map where India belonged.

So, when it comes to good governance, the governance would always have an element of citizens first approach. What is it that people who we represent- I mean, I as a political person, I represent a certain constituency, and that constituency which has voted for me, that constituency which has certain expectations of me, and now as a Minister what would I have to say about India’s culture, ethos, value system and the governance aspect. So, I think Yoga and Ayurveda are a combination which actually introduces India to the world in a right way.

Yoga – you’ve been benefitted, your own system gets corrected, and if I am right that Ambassador in Tokyo mentioned about Sadhguru’s lines and I would go a step further that inner engineering is all what Yoga is working on and it is not some voodoo, it is science, and that science which is actually correcting the inner and internal systems. As luck would have it, COVID was something which everyone suffered from. And when COVID happened lockdown happened, when lockdown happened all those people who go out and practice exercises, use various kind of gym equipment etc. were barred from doing that because they could no longer travel out, could no longer use it. And does it mean the heart and the health should suffer? It only meant that the heart, health, family, soul, action, everything needs to be put together and work together and what is a better way of proving the might of yoga than the COVID itself.

During COVID that everyone had to struggle with good health, everyone had to work on the lung capacity, and the immune system had to be operational and very, very active. For all those achievements, a simple yogic practice would help you achieve that - simple pranayama, where you don’t really need to lift weights or do anything. Just by doing a certain exercises, a 5 minute a day, a 10 minute a day, kind of a routine, would benefit people.

Now, COVID was one period which awakened the world’s consciousness, and the consciousness which people, of course, those who are believer who are believing in Yoga, anyways they were doing Yoga. But by the speech that the Prime Minister chose to give in 2014, by the action of the Ministry and the bureaucrats that we try to promote it, by putting it in action, by practising it, the world saw the benefits of Yoga. So Yoga became our hallmark and when we say hallmark, the hallmark needs to have certain practices which need to be standardized and in that process of standardization come institutes like Morarji Desai Institute and several other Institutes.

So we are seeing a unique method where various verticals are getting connected in a transparent way. It is popularizing people, it is benefiting people. Thus it becomes the world heritage and thus it promotes what India is all about, and what India stands for and what Indians by and large stand to gain from this. And the softer power which I mentioned also is talking about the strength this culture has. This culture has sustained itself through the ages not by being belligerent but in a way helping everyone and when you are looking into the eye of belligerence with kindness and compassion towards all, I think that’s what diplomacy is all about that you are able to do hard things in a softer way and you are able to do soft things in a nicer way, more compassionate and giving way and which we have seen over a period of time.

The little time that I have been with the Ministry; all the intangible heritage that we have been able to push through; tangible heritage that we been able to push through; the manner in which we are able to put Indian ethos across; and Indian culture seen across. A lot of work needs to be done, a lot of work has happened and we should not sit on laurels as our JS XP tried to say that there are pre-events, events and post-events. So, this is a time to celebrate the consciousness of oneness with everyone. At the same time this bhav of samatvam needs to be carried out and that samatvam yoga uchyate which means that stay steadfast, steadfast in everything you do, equanimity in everything that we do, and this steadfastness in good, in bad, in storm, in any form of life, in any form of challenge that we may face we need to stay steadfast and this is what yog is all about. It’s an exercise form for people who want to exercise; it’s a form of spirituality when you feel connected with the world; it’s a form of guidance and balance, those who practice it in certain way. So each ones’ individuality also gets showcased while one person does yoga. But with all this it benefits all irrespective of which, what idea and ideology one works with.

And next best thing from yoga, if we move on to Ayurved, that’s the next best thing. First thing is that attempt should be there that nobody falls sick, nobody suffers, the work is a calm, quiet, nice place for everyone, it’s a peaceful place. And I guess from UN to all the multilateral fora wherever we cooperate and whether it’s anything else, the idea is that let’s work together, let’s be helpful to each other bilaterally or multilaterally whichever fora we have our engagements.

But if one happens to fall sick, what do you do? The next best thing is use Ayurvedic medicines which are really not medicines but which are herbs with lot of potential and potent medicines also it can be used as. So using natural products, as in yogic language we called it pranic value, the life form will have certain form of energy which is beyond the physical form of energy and that pranic value is what we need to enhance and that’s where the Ayurvedic medicine come from because they are life. There is a life form which in the form of plants and that life form needs to be integrated with the system to cleanse the system, to build immunity, to strengthen the system.

And thus I would say that taking the best foot forward that popularizing Ayurved, people benefiting out of our ancient heritage is also something we have seen across the globe happening whether it’s haldi, its basmati, its kamal ka phool and so on and so forth. We saw that how our medicines are being taken out and how they are being labelled as other medicines. So best is to setup our own pharmacopoeia, keep the IPR with India because it is Indian heritage which world needs to recognize us all for. And the combination of Yoga with Ayurved is the best life form which is going to benefit all.

Vyayam, labhate swasthyam, deergayushman balamsukham, aarogyam paramam bhagyam, swasthayamm sarvathartha sadhanam - which means we all get physical health benefit from Yog and that is what Yog is all about. Because we have the physical health benefit, dirgh ayushman, which means the long life that we get, and with long life we have longer hours with which we all can work and support our heritage, culture, government, all the actions that are good for the country and the world at large and with this we get the bal which is the force, strength and sukham which is the sukh, the happiness all around. And being free of ailment is the best fate anyone can enjoy because once you are without ailment there so much more that one can do.

And I think our Prime Minister is the best example that with his age, and the kind of work he works, and the kind of health he is keeping because he is a practicing Yogi himself - he practices yoga. And the sadhana, the worship of the body through these means, is the best form in which the health and the benefit of being alive as humans is what we can give. So combining good health, good life, correct principles, right goals is what good governance is all about. And thank you all for being participant in the good governance and giving good governance to the world at large and to the country and representing country with the best of the properties that the country represents, the best of qualities that the country represents. Jai Hind.

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