PM Modi at World Culture Festival: When you look at a country through prism of art, you realise its internal strength

Prime Minister Narendra Modi shared the stage with spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and other world dignitaries.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: March 12, 2016 10:05 am
Narendra Modi, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, World Culture Festival, Art of living Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaking on stage at the World Culture Festival. Also seen in the image Art of Living founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. (Source: Express Photo by Ravi Kanojia)

Reacting to the controversy surrounding the three-day World Culture Festival in Delhi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, speaking at the event Friday, said, “If we keep criticising ourselves, why would the world look at us?”

PM Modi heaped praise on spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and Art of Living foundation for holding the event. He congratulated Sri Sri and all the participants for presenting such a diverse image to the world and said that we must be proud of our cultural heritage.

Sri Sri also responded to criticism surrounding the three-day festival saying that the event was indeed a private affair, as quoted by a few, as the whole world is his family. He then went on to say that it is common to face obstacles when holding an event of such magnitude.

Before the three-day event kicked off, light showers sent participants scurrying for cover. However, the rain did not dampen the mood at the event with the proceedings going ahead as scheduled. Prime Minister Narendra Modi shared the stage with spiritual leader Sri Sri and other world dignitaries.

Earlier today, after the National Green Tribunal (NGT) ordered spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s Art of Living to pay up the interim compensation of Rs 5 crore for the environmental damage to the Yamuna floodpains due to the World Culture Festival, the organisation moved an application saying it needs four weeks time to deposit the amount and to comply with all tribunal directions.

In the application, Art of Living said, “AOL says it is a charitable organisation and it is difficult for it to generate Rs 5 crore in a short period.” It further added that the Rs 5 crore fine be taken as restoration amount for biodiversity park and not as penalty.


The NGT however took objection to Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s earlier refusal to pay the fine, saying when a person of that stature makes such statements, it hits the rule of law.

READ: Venkaiah Naidu sides with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, says Art of Living event ‘will bring glory to India’


9.00 pm:

8.50 pm:

8.10 pm: Sri Sri contributed a lot to India’ world image: PM Modi.

8.00 pm: Art of Living helped spread Indian values to the world: PM Modi.

7.10 pm: I sincerely hope we can spread world peace through Art of Living and Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Japanese MP conveys PM Shinzo Abe’s message.

6.50 pm: Someone said that World Culture Festival is a private party. Yes, it is. The whole world is my family: Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.

6.45 pm:

6.25 pm:

6.05 pm:

6.00 pm:

5.55 pm:

5.40 pm:

5.30 pm:

5.25 pm:


5.10 pm:

5.02 pm:

shelter Participants seek shelter under a scaffolding at World Culture Festival.

5.00 pm:

4.45 pm:

4.30 pm:

4.20 pm: Delhi metro to run additional metros on Noida line between 1pm-11pm on all three days of the event.

4.10 pm: Artists on stage have been given polythene sheets to cover themselves. Kids rehearsing on stage amid the drizzle. People who’ve come to watch are using their chairs to keep themselves from getting soaked.

4.00 pm: Light showers in various parts of Delhi could dampen Sri Sri event.

2:24 pm: NGT clarifies that Rs 5 crore is not penalty or fine but an amount imposed on AOL as environmental compensation.

READ: Roads to avoid for the next 3 days, check here for alternate routes

2:03 pm: Why should he pay the money? He is doing it to promote India-Farooq Abdullah

1:42 pm: If Art of Living fails to pay up then NGT will attach the grant which Culture Ministry is supposed to pay to AOL.Next hearing on April 4.

1:35 pm: NGT says if AOL fails to pay Rs 25 lakh today, then grant of Rs 2.5 crore by govt will be attached.

1:35 pm: NGT asks AOL to pay Rs 25 lakh today and grants 3 weeks’ time to pay remaining Rs 4.75 crore of the fine.

1:27 pm: NGT asks Art of Living, ‘how much money can you deposit today? Its not a penalty but environment compensation.’

1:21 pm: NGT says all authorities (CBCB, DPCC, MOEF) have to ensure no pollution is spread in Yamuna.

1:16 pm: NGT accepts undertaking given by Art Of Living.

1:05 pm: If anybody hurts the image of the Tribunal, we will take it to a logical conclusion as per rule of law: NGT tells AOL.

PHOTOS: See Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s ‘Olympics’ of art and culture

1:01 pm: NGT issues show cause notice for contempt proceedings to a member of Ojaswi party for disturbing court hearing; asks him to leave the courtroom.

12:55 pm: There is no controversy. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar is known for resolving controversial issues, says Home Minister Rajnath Singh on AOL event.

READ: Everything’s fine, says Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, except the fine

12:50 pm: NGT asks Centre and AOL if Rs 2.5 crore grant has been released to the foundation by Culture ministry.

12:45 pm: NGT pulls up Ministry of Water Resources for not doing anything to protect Yamuna from pollution despite directions.

READ: World Culture Festival starts today; Stage unsafe CPWD to Delhi Police

While allowing the Art of Living Foundation to go ahead with its three-day ‘cultural’ event on the Yamuna floodplains, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) described the situation as a fait accompli, something that could not be prevented from taking place at such a late stage. The only recourse available was to impose a fine and ask the organisation to restore the area to its original condition after the event.

READ: How Sri Sri Ravi Shankar got away with fait accompli

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  1. A
    Mar 11, 2016 at 8:32 am
    Finally Modi is bringing back black money
    1. S
      Srividya Jayaraman
      Mar 11, 2016 at 3:11 pm
      May be you must be a anti Hindu pig.
      1. M
        Mar 11, 2016 at 8:41 am
        How much comes and how much is given? Do you have the details?
        1. M
          Mar 11, 2016 at 8:20 am
          In India mostly the less educated take pride in anything Indian where as most educated feel sorry for being Indian! What is wrong with Indian education system? Are they going for the wrong education?
          1. M
            Mar 11, 2016 at 8:26 am
            Issued the order to pay fine within a day! Sound familiar? Another 2G or 3G work asking to pay deposit within 24 hours! Sit all the year on fat a s s and when order is given it has to be complied in 24 hours!
            1. M
              Mar 11, 2016 at 8:51 am
              They are running out of money in JNU! This penalty money will be used to subsidise anti nationals!
              1. M
                Mar 11, 2016 at 8:38 am
                This will make up for the lost pride due to CWG scam. Civilians should ask Sri Sri to be rewarded for this.
                1. V
                  Vishnu Sharma
                  Mar 11, 2016 at 6:26 pm
                  The Marxists who are the eternal, infernal and most pernicious and hateful enemies of India and its people will hate anything which projects India or Indians as a peace loving, organized, united people who have a lot of goodwill towards themselves as well as towards the world. The Marxist will always try to side with India's enemies and hate Yoga, different Schools of thought which came out of India, Indian history and will deny India's tremendous influence in South Asia and South East Asia. The other day me and my friends had a serious argument with a Marxist (Sudheer Pathak) at a library where he was shouting over the top of his voice that India's influence was all bad and Islam saved India from the oppression of Hindu upper castes and that India should be split into different countries. Me and my friends got so tired of this that we beat him up very badly and stuffed one of our sweaty socks in his swollen mouth and bound him hand and foot to the cycle stand using a cycle chain. This is the best way to deal with Marxists in India.
                  1. A
                    Mar 11, 2016 at 8:39 am
                    Drama to the core. No doubt, people are considered as fools !!
                    1. A
                      Mar 11, 2016 at 3:30 pm
                      Ha! Haa! Good Joke!
                      1. A
                        Mar 11, 2016 at 3:28 pm
                        Only people with jaundiced eyes calls other thievs.
                        1. A
                          Archit Goel
                          Mar 11, 2016 at 10:17 am
                          What is disgusting is Media's coverage and targeting of AOL. They are so many importent news before the country, but this is what Pressitudes choose to focus on. To pull someone down who is doing good Job. They donot question NGT for not doing its work earlier.
                          1. S
                            Mar 11, 2016 at 2:37 pm
                            Any program arranged by Any NGO. They have to pay hafta to local mafia this is not new in India . Shri shri has not thought of this since his intentions are clear and honest. THIS IN INDIA
                            1. B
                              Mar 11, 2016 at 10:02 am
                              If he fails to pay, then arrest him straight away. But I know no one is going to listen. These type of self-styled babas who turn out to be dhongis most of the time, will never be arrested.
                              1. P
                                PN badri
                                Mar 11, 2016 at 7:01 am
                                All NGOs should be brought under RTI act . They are spending huge amount compared to pittance fine amount. NGT statutory body and they can to submit the details of bank accounts of AOL and their affiliated bodies to prove dearth of finance. Still the ruling clique supporting billionaire guru surprising /laughing stock.
                                1. R
                                  Mar 11, 2016 at 8:26 am
                                  Dongi babi yesterday said he will not pay a penny as fine !! Even godmen do U turns and play to the gallery...HAHA. This organisation has crores of unaccounted money and they claim they cannot pay up 5 crores ?? Joke !
                                  1. B
                                    Mar 11, 2016 at 2:30 pm
                                    Every president of the USA, right from Obama all the way to the first president openly quote verses from the bible, and still America is a very secular nation. There is nothing wrong in doing so. In fact every room in every hotel across America has a complimentary bible. I wonder what new Drama series Rahul hi, his likes including Mr. Kejriwal, and the media will start if India wants to offer a complimentary Bhagvad Gita or extracts from Guru Granth Sahib copy in every hotel room across India. Leave alone Gita or Guru Granth sahib even the India flag would be an issue for these "free" spirits.
                                    1. B
                                      Mar 11, 2016 at 4:07 pm
                                      oh really! That way I suppose no big events should be conducted in any country because they would disrupt peoples' lives!!! What a joke!
                                      1. R
                                        Rajendra Babu
                                        Mar 11, 2016 at 3:49 pm
                                        Both the fraudsters join together in praising each other. Feku who is supposed to excute the judicery has joined hands with the accused .How can a nation trust this feku as PM . Earlier we had one fraud babu who too was famous world wide and finally ended up in Tihar jail and died.
                                        1. C
                                          charanjeet Singh
                                          Mar 11, 2016 at 4:26 pm
                                          What is your opinion? sir this is awesome worldwide best program in India
                                          1. S
                                            Mar 11, 2016 at 3:21 pm
                                            This is nothing but Sri Sri 's attempt to claim stake in Nobel Peace Prize..but why not in Prayag or Gangasagar or some other established fair site...erecting the 'Art'ificial arrangements over the fragile Jamuna ecosystem, even after its details probably more than other, is definitely a CRIME ..I just wonder why so many agencies could not stop this disaster at the beginning..I am happy to see the Nature is already started to take the revenge...No one get Peace at the Price of the Planet..God bless all!
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