To celebrate the 6th International World Yoga Day, Incredible India, in association with the Ministry of Tourism organised a free webinar named ‘Bharat: A Cultural Treasure‘ with Shri Prahlad Singh Patel. Ministry of State (I/C) for Tourism & Culture and Sadhguru, on June 20. Jaggi Vasudev, better known as Sadhguru, is also an author and recipient of the Padma Vibhushan award. Other panellists were Ajay Singh, Chairman and MD at SpiceJet Ltd., Ranju Alex, Market Vice President at Marriot International, Ritesh Agarwal, Founder and Group CEO of OYO Hotels and Homes, Chef Ranveer Brar and Fashion Designer Anita Dongre.
The session started with the host introducing all speakers and the display of a mesmerizing video by the Isha Foundation revolving around their Indian and International Institutes. Following this, Minister Patel addressed the audience and Sadhguru in his opening remarks.
Ajay Singh, Chairman and MD at SpiceJet Ltd. spoke about how aviation unites spaces. He asked Saduhguru to shed light on his love for flying and the places he recommends one should travel to. Sadhguru remembered how at the age of 12, he built a hand glider on his own and ended up crashing and breaking his ankles. After 2 years, he tried hand-gliding again and was successful this time. He said, “It’s the birds that are always beyond you” being close to nature, is what inspired him to get a helicopter license 9 years ago. He believes that instead of building high investment airports, helicopter tourism could be more beneficial for aviation in India.
He also revealed that he had travelled across India without a destination in mind on his motorcycle. He recommends the Himalayan range and the Western Ghats as go-to places for wildlife lovers. He said, “There is a whole lot of India we are yet to explore.”
Ranju Alex, Market Vice President of Marriot International, inquired how can more women work in the hospitality sector and travel across India. Sadhguru spoke about the strict and unrealistic beauty standards expected from women by the hospitality industry to be hired. “We must be looking at a person for the service they provide you and not for how they essentially look”
Ritesh Agarwal, Founder and Group CEO of OYO Hotels and Homes, spoke about how at the age of 4, he realised the need for hospitality for middle-class people. He asked Sadhguru to share his thoughts on how to promote rural tourism. Sadhguru said that in domestic tourism, exploring villages is an emerging trend, However, foreigners fear catching infections, hence avoid it. However, if clusters of farmers are trained to provide a great rural tourism experience, foreign tourists may be attracted.
Celebrity Chef Ranveer Brar wondered how would the gap between foreign understanding of healthy food and our intangible ancient wisdom of Indian food be bridged. Sadhguru said, “Food is about taste and nourishment. We don’t really care about how our roti is kept. While they (foreigners) don’t mind bread, which is one-month-old but presented properly”, he said drawing a parallel between Indians and Americans. He added that Indian food will be unbeatable if only we provide quality.
Fashion Designer Anita Dongre asked for Sadhguru’s opinion on opting for Yoga for better mental health. He quoted WHO’s report that said that post the pandemic, the world will be facing more mental health issues than physical ones. 800,000 people commit suicide every year, i.e. one person every 40 seconds. Over 18,600 Indian youth commits suicide and 6000 of them are below 13 years of age. The education system is to blame for not teaching kids how to handle chemical changes. “If nothing is going up and down, either you are dead already or you are on the way,” he said. Fear of suffering has to be eliminated. Yoga’s fundamental value is to be free from life’s fluctuations. “The question is are you a compulsive reaction or a conscious response?” he adds to mark the difference between other creatures and humans. Yoga, he firmly believes. builds immunity that will help us fight the virus.