Times of India Editorial : March 13

Turning the dragon ulta-pulta: Thanks to yoga, India could tie China up in knots and nots

Contrary (Very opposed in nature) to the old saying that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks (you cannot make people change their ways), India seems bent on showing that it can indeed teach an ancient Dragon new twists.

Even as China’s export-driven economy is slowing down, India stands poised (Balanced) to boost its own exports to that country, starting with a typical and traditional homegrown product: Yoga.

After years of being subjected to a virtual flood of cheap Chinese goods – ranging from computer components to Diwali lights and images of deities like Lakshmi and Ganesh – India could turn trade tables on China thanks to an age-old physical and spiritual discipline whose many ardent (Characterized by intense emotion) espousers (Choose and follow, adopt) include PM Narendra Modi and Baba Ram Dev.

Indeed, the Patanjali tycoon has gone on record to claim that through yoga he can “cure” the “disease” of homosexuality, a pronouncement (An authoritative declaration) which suggests that, whatever else it might or might not be an antidote for, yogic practice is not a remedy (Cure) for a condition characterised by the patient putting his foot in his mouth whenever he opens it.

Such hiccups (an involuntary spasm of the diaphragm and respiratory organs, with a sudden closure of the glottis and a characteristic sound like that of a cough.) notwithstanding, yoga is reportedly enjoying an enthusiastic fan following in China, a development which New Delhi could cash in on both economically and diplomatically, and add a new punch to Panchsheel.

Knowing that the Chinese have selective myopia (nearsightedness) where the fine print of copyright laws is concerned, the first thing for India to do would be to register a watertight patent for yoga, lest Beijing claims it to be of local origin and a variant of the indigenous (Originating where it is found) tai chi.

Apart from possible royalty earnings from yoga, the ministry of external affairs should explore other possible areas of benefit from the Middle Kingdom’s adoption of the lotus position.

In that the sirshaasan, which involves standing on one’s head, is an integral part of the yoga regimen, New Delhi could advantageously use this posture to get Beijing to turn ulta-pulta its foreign policy on a number of contentious (Inclined or showing an inclination to dispute or disagree) issues so that it comes to see eye-to-eye with India.

Indeed, the convolute  (Curl, wind, or twist together) contortions (The act of twisting or deforming the shape of something) indispensable to yoga could well help India tie up China not only in knots but also in a long list of nots. Such a roster of negatives for Beijing could include not claiming Arunachal Pradesh for itself, not issuing strictures against Dalai Lama, not aiding and abetting Pakistan for the sole purpose of needling New Delhi, and not blocking India’s entry into the UN Security Council as a permanent member.

However, turning things topsy-turvy (upside down) can have its own unforeseen hazards (A source of danger) as indicated by the story of the reprobate (A person without moral scruples) who on demise (Death, The time when something ends) was ushered (Take (someone) to their seats, as in theatres or auditoriums) into the nether region which was full of people standing neck-deep in poop, sipping tea. “This isn’t too bad; at least we get tea,” thought the sinner. Then an attendant said, “Tea break over. On your heads, everyone!”

Such cautionary (Serving to warn) tales show that upending (Turning upside down) oneself can sometimes prove to be a pain in the aasan.