Updated: February 2, 2021 7:44:54 am
In his Mann Ki Baat address on Sunday (January 31), Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke about the popularity of Yoga in Chile and appreciated the Latin American nation’s love for Indian culture.
“My dear countrymen, thousands of kilometers from India, across many oceans and continents, lies a country — Chile. It takes a lot of time to reach Chile from India. However, the fragrance of Indian culture has been there for a long time. Another significant aspect is that Yoga is extremely popular there,” Modi said, “The Chilean Congress, that is their Parliament, has passed a proposal. There, the 4th of November has been declared as National Yoga Day.”
Modi went on to say, “Now, you would be wondering, what is so special about 4th of November! On 4th of November 1962, the first Yoga institution in Chile was established by José Rafael Estrada. By proclaiming this day as National Yoga Day, a tribute has been paid to Estrada ji.”
He also mentioned another personality– “By the way, there is another aspect about the Chilean Parliament, one which will interest you. The name of the Vice President of the Chilean Senate is Rabindranath Quinteros. He has been so named, inspired by Vishwa Kavi Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore.”
Who is Chile’s Rabindranath Quinteros?
Quinteros, 77, a member of Chile’s Socialist Party, has been the Vice President of the country Senate (upper house of the legislature) since March 2020.
A former dental surgeon, Quinteros started his political career in 1989, at a time when Chile was transitioning to democracy from the regime of Augusto Pinochet, the dictator who had ruled the country since 1973.
In 1990, Quinteros became the Intendente (equivalent to chief minister) of the southern coastal Los Lagos Region, a part of which falls in South America’s picturesque Patagonia region. After occupying this post until 2000, he served as the mayor of Puerto Montt for 12 years until 2012. In 2013, he was elected to the Chilean Senate from Los Lagos.
Since March 2020, Quinteros has been serving as the Vice President of the Senate.
José Rafael Estrada
Estrada, originally from Mexico, is credited for bringing Yoga to Chile. The Yoga centre he started in 1964 functioned until 1973, when Chile became a military dictatorship. It reopened in 1980 under the name Institute of Human Development, according to a study at the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile titled ‘A Concise History of Hindu Religiousness in Chile’.
An entry in the Encyclopedia of Latin American Religions mentions Estrada as a member of the Great Universal Fraternity (GFU), an association founded in 1948 by French astrologer Serge Raynaud de La Ferrière in Venezuela.
The entry reads, “… the GFU has played a fundamental role in the teaching, spreading, and revival of physical, mental, and esoteric disciplines associated with the alternative spirituality of the New Age in Latin American countries such as Venezuela itself, Peru, Chile, Colombia, and Mexico.”
Estrada wrote the book Enseñanzas de la Nueva Era (Teaching of the New Age), in which he has written about fraternity among Latin American people, and about the astrological Age of Aquarius, according to the Routledge Handbook of Yoga and Meditation Studies.
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