India is gearing up to seek Unesco intangible cultural heritage tag for Indian yoga to help mobilise international co-operation and assistance to safeguard its techniques and philosophy, now practised world-over as a discipline to attain physical, mental, and spiritual goals.
The Ministry of Culture in consultation with the Ministry of Health has begun the process for inclusion of the ancient practice on the Unesco list of intangible cultural heritage in need of urgent safeguarding.
Department of Ayush under the Ministry of Health will prepare a dossier for submission of nomination. “Our target is to do it by 2016 but we will try to complete this exercise as early as possible,” sources told Deccan Herald.
To get yoga inscribed on the list of intangible cultural heritage, the government needs to first justify it is an intangible cultural heritage. Among various other criteria set for inscription on the Unesco’s list, the government will also have to demonstrate that yoga is in urgent need of safeguarding because its viability is at risk despite the efforts of the community, group, individuals and the government.
“The inscription is a rigorous process. There are many criteria that have to be fulfilled in order to get the Unesco intangible heritage tag for yoga. We will work on them and build our case,” sources said.
However, there is one major hurdle that may come in India’s way. Though it is widely accepted that yoga originated from ancient India, the country does not have intellectual property rights over this ancient practice.
“This may create a problem because different versions of yoga have been developed over the years and some like Hot yoga is patented. Hot yoga is practised under hot and humid conditions like steam,” sources added.