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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 10:05:50 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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