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Wednesday, 19 June, 2019, 15 : 26 PM [IST]

WHAT’S NEXT AFTER YOGA DAY?

If the International Day of Yoga, celebrated on June 21 has imprinted the soft power of yoga across the world, it has also led to a perception upgrade of Indian tourism as well. It is time to move on and both tourism business promoters and the Central government must look at newer avenues to create the right environment for a positive perception.

An opportunity, already in existence and often erratically navigated internationally, has arisen once again. Earlier this month at the Eat Stockholm Food Forum 2019, the Director of Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and a Harvard professor of epidemiology and nutrition co-authored a seminal research on how diets affect climate change.

The silent reading of the report suggests that traditional plant-based Indian diets with some red meat, fowl and fish can show the world how a sustainable diet can provide for the world’s projected 10 billion people by 2050 without damaging the environment dangerously.

Away from the value loaded and often vicious counter-campaigning by vegetarians, vegans, and lovers of meat, here is a neat window of opportunity for India to showcase its unique fare to the world. That the context can be linked to one of the most pressing problems (despite Trump’s assertions) of climate change, the positioning of such an attempt can be a lucrative and useful tool, for want of a better world, in promoting India’s soft power across the world.

The Banana Festival at Kalliyoor in Kerala, the World Orange Festival at Nagpur, Delhi’s own Mango Festival and a host of other similar events need to be fused together along with the innumerable other options into a gigantic celebration of food across the world and at the same podium. State governments have been working on this sporadically. For example, MTDC (Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation) has been organising a unique Chikoo Festival in the village of Bordi for the past few years and combining it with showcasing the renowned Warli art of the locals.

It is time to combine this vast array of sporadic options into an international campaign. Yoga is done and dusted. Next move should be Indian Food: the world’s hope against climate change. The National Association of Street Vendors of India (NASVI) held a successful street food fest in the capital last year. How about enlarging it and taking an ‘Indian Food to tackle Climate Change’ festival worldwide?

I am sure, the Department which launched the Incredible India strategy years back can come up with a better name. The idea is, it’s just got to be done.

 
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