Zanzibar Celebrates 8th International Yoga Day

The Indian Embassy in Tanzania’s independent constituent held International Yoga Day festivities with mass participation from Indians and the native populace to promote the eminence of Yoga.
The Yoga instructor and participants perform a meditation session in Zanzibar, Tanzania.
The Yoga instructor and participants perform a meditation session in Zanzibar, Tanzania.Indian Embassy in Zanzibar, Tanzania
Many Yoga enthusiasts participated in the Yoga Day celebrations at Chancery Premises in Zanzibar, Tanzania.
Many Yoga enthusiasts participated in the Yoga Day celebrations at Chancery Premises in Zanzibar, Tanzania. Indian Embassy in Zanzibar, Tanzania
The participants, Officials of the Indian Embassy in Zanzibar, and a Yoga instructor happily pose for a picture.
The participants, Officials of the Indian Embassy in Zanzibar, and a Yoga instructor happily pose for a picture.Indian Embassy in Zanzibar, Tanzania

By Himani Bhatt

The Consulate General of India in Zanzibar, Tanzania, commemorated the International Day of Yoga (IDY) on June 21 at Chancery premises. It marked the 8th edition of Yoga Day in partnership with “Uzima Community Space for well-being” and “L & T Construction” (Larsen & Toubro) with the theme “Yoga for Humanity.” Various Yoga enthusiasts engaged in the event to meditate and perform many asanas with the Yoga instructor. The Indian Embassy in Zanzibar also celebrated International Yoga Day on June 19 (09:00 hrs) at Victoria Street and Corner-Kaunda Road.

On Dec. 11, 2014, the United Nations (UN) commenced 21 June as the International Day of Yoga by resolution 69/131 at the request of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It intends to increase global awareness of Yoga’s numerous advantages.

Moreover, the word “Yoga” originated from the Sanskrit language denoting to unite or to join, inferring the unification of consciousness and body. Therefore, it is regarded as more than a physical exercise as it explores the sense of a person’s connection with himself, nature, and the world.

The late Bellur Krishnamachar Sundararaja Iyengar (B. K. S) Iyenger, who was one of the most popular Yoga practitioners, stated the relevance of Yoga. He said, “Yoga cultivates the ways of maintaining a balanced attitude in day-to-day life and endows skill in the performance of one’s actions.”

India And Zanzibar: A Brief Glance

Needlessly, the magnitude of Yoga Day celebrations in Tanzania is a testament to Tanzanians’ fondness for spiritual discipline. Besides Zanzibar, it observed the IDY celebrations across the country at Dar es Salaam, Arusha, Tabora, Tanga, Morogoro, Mwanza, Iringa, and Lindi throughout June. The event encouraged Indians and native citizens to comprehend Yoga’s importance and practice it in their daily routine.

Tanzania’s independent constituent, Zanzibar, is a small island off the coast of the mainland of Eastern Africa, sharing a cordial relationship with India for a long time. Over the years, both countries have maintained a healthy commercial, cultural, and industrial association. India is its third-largest trading partner, with 9% of direct imports from the government. The Consulate General of India in Zanzibar was established on Oct. 23, 1974. Also, it was one of the six states in Tanzania (besides Dar es Salaam, Mwanza, Arusha, Morogoro, and Tabora) to host the first IDY celebrations in 2015.

Most People of Indian Origin (PIOs) are concentrated in the crucial city centers of Zanzibar, Dar es Salaam, Dodoma, Arusha, Mbeya, Mwanza, and Morogoro. Most of them are from Gujarat, chiefly from Kathiawar and Kutch regions. Their forefathers came to Tanganyika and Zanzibar in the early 19th century as sailors, merchants, and workers in railroad building. Since then, they have been playing a relevant role in industry and trade till now.

Indo-Zanzibar Relationship Over Time

Over centuries, India and Indians have been permeating the essence of Zanzibar, typically famous for the prosperous spice trade and beautiful beaches.

Accommodating a considerable Indian diaspora, the Island has materialized as the miniature of India’s participation in Africa, revolving around the trifecta of training, technology transfer, and trade. The Indo-Zanzibar bilateral industrial relationship is inclined in the former’s favor, with exports from Zanzibar comprising 35% of the imports from India.

The journey of the Indo-African relationship is filled with nostalgia, cross-cultural amalgamation, and history. The latter’s official language, Kiswahili, has a powerful blend of Indian words, proving the intimate Indo-Tanzania culture.

Moreover, it is said that the father of the Indian nation, Mahatma Gandhi, stopped in Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar at the end of the 19th century while going to or coming from South Africa. Hence, though geographically small, Zanzibar continues to hold robust trade and cultural connections with India.

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