The grand finale of Isha Gramotsavam 2023 witnessed Union Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports, Anurag Thakur, commending the initiative as a potent catalyst for social change, empowerment of women, and the revival of rural spirit. Held at the Adiyogi, Isha Yoga Center in Coimbatore, the event brought together thousands of spectators and participants from across the world.
Isha Gramotsavam was launched by Isha Foundation Founder Sadhguru in 2004 as a pioneering social endeavor aimed at infusing the joy of sports and playfulness into the lives of rural communities.
Union Sports Minister Anurag Thakur, renowned Tamil actor Santhanam, and former Indian Hockey Captain Dhanraj Pillay joined Sadhguru at the event.
Addressing the gathering, the Union Sports Minister said, “The wonderful initiative undertaken by Sadhguru celebrates rural sports and culture like none other… Isha Gramotsavam started way back in 2004 aiming to bring health, prosperity, and well-being to the rural masses, and I could see the sports persons here, some of them work as laborers, agriculturalists, and fishermen, but I could see the competitive spirit in them.”
The grand finale, set against the backdrop of the 112-foot Adiyogi, featured spirited displays of rural athleticism.
Sadhguru emphasised the importance of playfulness in life, saying, “Celebration is the basis of life, and it is possible only when you are playful. So, it’s fantastic to see that across 25,000 villages, over 60,000 players and hundreds and thousands of spectators in those villages, all at some point not knowing what they were doing, they would have jumped, screamed, yelled, laughed, and cried. This is what is needed to make life happen.”
“You must play some game. I don’t know what your conditions are. You live in an apartment building or somewhere. Well, you can at least throw a ball at each other. If you don’t have a ball, throw an onion. If an onion is too expensive, throw a potato—something to make life playful,” he added.
A participant from the Anandapuram Throwball team, Kumari, shared her journey, highlighting how the event transformed her and her teammates’ lives. Initially met with skepticism from their families, reaching the finals changed their perspective, turning them into staunch supporters. Despite their daily chores and responsibilities, the team practiced tirelessly.
Uthamasolpuram, Salem reigned over FEC Sithurajapuram in Volleyball grabbing the top honours. In Throwball, PG Pudur, Coimbatore won the championing trophy with Black Panther from Maragodu, Karnataka finishing a close second. Meanwhile, the Erode team defeated the Dindigul team in Women Kabaddi. In the Paralympics game, Coimbatore Para Volleyball Association, Coimbatore beat Kumari Kings, Kanyakumari to win the Paralympic Volleyball Championship.
Congratulating the winners, Sadhguru posted on social media platform X, “Congratulations to all #IshaGramotsavam participants, spectators & volunteers for re-creating the celebratory spirit so integral to rural Bharat. It is only through celebration that we can keep alive the richness of our heritage. May Gramotsavam reignite and strengthen community spirit in every village of Bharat. Blessings. -Sg”
The sporting extravagansa, held in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Kerala, and the Union Territory of Puducherry, played out in over 194 rural locations. Isha Gramotsavam involved the participation of 60,000 players, with over 10,000 rural women actively engaging in sports like Kabaddi and Throwball.
Isha Outreach, the organising body behind Isha Gramotsavam, has been recognised as a National Sports Promotion Organisation (NSPO) by the Ministry of Sports & Youth Affairs.
Eminent sports figures like Sachin Tendulkar, Olympic medallist Rajavardhan Singh Rathore, and Karnam Malleshwari have previously graced the event as special guests, while the likes of Mithali Raj, PV Sindhu, Virender Sehwag, Shikhar Dhawan, and Javagal Srinath have voiced their support for Isha Gramotsavam.