New Delhi, March: BJP leaders on Sunday slammed critics of the Art of Living's World Culture Festival celebrated on the banks of the Yamuna river here, saying attempts were made to stop the event which has not only mesmerised the world but also sent a message that India was the cradle of all civilisations.
Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu, while addressing the festival, said Yamuna was clean and calm and only some minds were polluted.
"Some people say that Yamuna is polluted but it's not. In fact, the minds of those people are polluted. Guruji (Sri Sri Ravi Shankar) is here to relieve the polluted minds," he said.
Praising AoL founder Ravi Shankar, Naidu said: "He has brought the world to India. We need peace and to be together. Peace is what we want to attain irrespective of caste, creed and culture.
"Human values are going down and obscenity is growing. So we need to bring peace. We need to work on nature and culture together which would lead to a better future," Naidu said.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley also took on those who opposed the event.
"Attempts were made to stop this event but the environment here is great. There was no traffic problem for a person like me while I was coming here. India is the cradle of all civilisations. Today, a message has been sent to the world from Delhi," he said.
BJP president Amit Shah said what India tried to connect with the world through trade and business, Sri Sri did through culture.
"Today, the world is amazed at this festival. Over centuries, the world tried to connect through business and trade but Sri Sri in 35 years has connected the world through culture," Shah said.
"Sri Sri has emerged as an ambassador of Indian culture," he added.
Earlier, the event started with more than a lakh people singing "Vande Mataram" in one voice.
"I am delighted to see the confluence of great spiritual and religious leaders, politicians, peace-makers and artistes who have joined us for this festival of music and dance," Sri Sri Ravi Shankar said.
"On the last day of the festival, I have a simple message to all of you -- do remember that we are all Vishwa-maanav, we are world citizens first," he said, thanking all those who came for the festival and for making it a resounding success.
"Together, we all form a global family, and must spread the message of peace, harmony and human values," he added.