People arrive in large numbers to attend yoga day event at UN

Security officials kept a tight vigil as they raised slogans.

New York: A spirit of enthusiasm and celebration overflowed outside the UN headquarters here on Wednesday as people in large numbers attended a historic event led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to commemorate the 9th International Day of Yoga.

The overwhelming number of people of Indian origin mixed with a smattering of yoga enthusiasts of other nationalities formed a long queue outside the entrance amid tight security measures ahead of the event.

In a boost to India’s efforts to raise yoga’s global profile, the event at the UN created a Guinness World Record for the participation of people of most nationalities at a yoga session.

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As Modi joined the large crowd, including noted personalities from different walks of lives, on the North Lawn of the UN headquarters, a handful of pro-Khalistan activists and some opposed to the BJP’s policies, faced off with a much bigger group of supporters of India’s ruling party and the prime minister.

Security officials kept a tight vigil as they raised slogans.

However, the dominant mood of the way was the support for the ancient Indian tradition, admired by its practitioners for its health as well as spiritual benefits, with people of many nationalities practicing yoga as a guide from dias instructed them.

Officials had earlier estimated that representatives of most countries would attend the event, and the audience did look like a snapshot of the global population. People from 135 countries attended the yoga session.

Many people who earlier arrived in the hope to get in without the pass given in advance were left disappointed.

“I took a chance but it is alright. It is nice to see such an enthusiastic crowd for yoga,” said Madhusudan, who travelled from New Jersey on a train to reach here.

Modi’s presence at the event worked as a magnet to draw Indian-Americans in large numbers to the venue as they arrived in buses, trains and the famous New York subway.

“Modi is the ambassador of yoga for the world. World needs peace and harmony amid war and conflict, yoga is the medium for this,” said Pramod Bhagat of the World Peace and Health Foundation.

Standing in the queue, Caroline, a German national, said she came after she got to know about the UN event and praised yoga’s benefits.

Hollywood actor Richard Gere, Iyengar yoga exponent Deidra Demens, New York City Mayor Eric Adams, and prominent American singer Mary Millben were among the eminent personalities who joined the yoga session at the UN headquarters.

Among the prominent personalities who joined Modi for the yoga session were Csaba Korosi, a Hungarian diplomat currently serving as the President of the 77th UN General Assembly, and Amina J. Mohammed, Deputy Secretary General of the UN and Chair of the UN Sustainable Development Group.

With the yoga event, the prime minister’s first leg of the US visit ended and he left for Washington where he will meet President Joe Biden and address a joint session of the Congress for a second time in his maiden state visit to the country.

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