By Sajeev K Peter

KUWAIT: Embassy of India, Kuwait on Saturday launched the curtain-raiser for International Day of Yoga (IDY) celebrations for the year 2022 during a celebration marking the foundation day of Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR). IDY will be held on June 21, 2022. The ICCR was founded in 1950 by Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, India's first education minister.

"Today when we celebrate its foundation day, it is also an occasion to remember its founder. Maulana Abul Kalam Azad was one of the foremost leaders of the Indian freedom struggle. He was also a great scholar and poet," Indian Ambassador Sibi George said in his inaugural address, recalling the invaluable contributions made by Azad which included establishing ICCR.

"Under his tenure as minister, a number of measures were undertaken to promote primary and secondary education, scientific education, establishment of universities and promotion of avenues of research and higher studies," he pointed out.

A group dance performance.

Azad helped establish many institutions such as India's literature academy, music and theater academy and fine arts academy and the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR). He also provided a major stimulus for the setting up of higher institutions of education including the prestigious Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT). In recognition of his invaluable contribution to the nation, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad was awarded India's highest civilian honor, the Bharat Ratna in 1992.

The ambassador also highlighted India's rich cultural heritage and its splendid diversity. He underlined that India is celebrating two years long celebration of 75th anniversary of its independence (Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav) as well as 60th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations between the India and Kuwait.  Launching the curtain-raiser for IDY celebrations for 2022, he mentioned that the embassy will have regular yoga events in Kuwait almost daily in the run-up to IDY 2022.

Local Indian artistes performed during the event such as live instrumental music, classical dance, Lavni dance, Gujarati dance, Punjabi and Rajasthani fusion dance and Bengali dance.  The ambassador distributed certificates to participants of National Science Day Quiz.  He also launched a virtual exhibition 'Visiting 7 legends of India' by ICCR. 'Ayush' bulletin for the period January-March 2022 was also released on the occasion. As part of curtain raiser for IDY, opening song of Indian Prime Minister's address on IDY 2021 followed by chair yoga demonstration was also screened during the event. The event witnessed enthusiastic response with people from different walks life in Kuwait participating virtually as well as physically.