Indian blue Berets are introducing war-torn Lebanon to the healing effects of Yoga.
The United Nations peacekeepers deployed in Shebaa Farms — a contentious bit of territory where the borders of Lebanon, Syria and Israel meet — are working hard to spread good health and happiness through Yoga.
Instructors from 15 Punjab, the Indian battalion in the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), have earned kudos for their yoga classes, topping the popularity charts in schools across southern Lebanon.
The unit has converted Ebel es-Saqi near Marjayoun into a yoga retreat of sorts.
Major Sumit Sharma, the contingent’s spokesperson, told the Hindustan Times by e-mail: “Classes conducted earlier for children of a local high school were an instant hit. So the scope of the initiative has been widened.”
The troops also deserve credit for propagating Gandhigiri. The unit
organised an exhibition to project Gandhi as a hero who stood for the principles of non-violence and
freedom. Major General K.J.S. Oberoi, a colonel of the Punjab regiment who visited Lebanon recently, heaped lavish praise on the battalion for its innovative community service initiatives.
The unit has already endeared itself to the locals by organising a raft of community programmes as part of the humanitarian duties of the contingent under UN resolution 1701. UN troops first arrived in Lebanon in March 1978 after Israeli forces invaded southern parts of the country.