Varanasi, Dec 25: The UN decision to declare June 21 as World Yoga Day was proof that India's voice was now being heard, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Thursday.
Speaking at the Banaras Hindu University here, Modi also asked Indians to grab the global opportunities coming their way and said that he wished to see India exporting good teachers to other countries.
Hoping that India becomes a 'Vishwa Guru' one day, the prime minister said he had requested the United Nations in September to declare a World Yoga Day.
"Within 100 days, 177 countries became co-sponsors to this proposal which itself is a world record," he said to thunderous applause.
This, he added, was a changed situation when whatever India said was taken seriously on international forums.
Modi asked people to watch out against threats of pollution of 'shiksha ki sanskriti' (culture of education).
Asking theatre and social groups to encourage people to be clean and spread awareness about issues like hunger and female foeticide, Modi said he felt ashamed to hear about children going hungry in a country like India where even stray animals were fed.
He urged schools in Varanasi to spread knowledge on the holy Hindu town's rich culture and eminent personalities like Kabir and Tulsidas as well as its famous ghats along the Ganges.
Earlier, at a function at Swatantra Bhawan in the BHU campus, Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani said several of the initiatives udnertaken on the education front were Modi's brainchild.
Later, the prime minister laid the foundation stone of a Rs.110 crore Inter-University Centre for Teacher Education, launched the Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya National Mission on Teachers and Teaching and the Wifi connectivity of the entire BHU campus.
He also inaugurated a five-day cultural festival.
Meanwhile, Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma urged Irani to include lessons in schools till Class 12 so that they learn about India's culture.
At the end of the event, Modi took the mike and apologized for reaching the venue later, saying bad weather had held him up.