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Monday, June 29, 2015

The Politics of Yoga

The Politics of Yoga

28 Jun 2015 logo 0 commentsShare |      
The much-hyped International Yoga Day (IYD) passed but not with the ease as well as response its proponents had expected from all quarters. The filing of a case against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP president Amit Shah and RSS supremo Mohan Bhagwat in a court in Patna just a day before the "event" for giving a "religious colour" to yoga and thereby hurting people's sentiments, Goa Education Department's withdrawal of its controversial circular asking all schools in the State to send their students for a yoga drill, Nagaland, Mizoram and other church leaders' call to Christians not to observe IYD, Muslim groups' fatwa calling it "un-Islamic", and above all the row over BJP general secretary Ram Madhav questioning Vice-President Hamid Ansari's "absence" at the Yoga Day celebrations in the Capital have all gone to sour the controversial event.
The IYD observance has cost our public exchequer millions of rupees. Reports confirm that the Tourism Ministry has spent about Rs 10 crore on marketing the event in India and around the world. The marketing exercise included publicity on TV, radio, hoardings and billboards, brochures, besides in print media, etc. Besides, the Ministry of AYUSH, which is spearheading the project, allotted Rs 5.5 crore to the Information and Broadcasting Ministry for publicity. In a country where, to mention only a few challenges, 14 crore poor people are fighting hunger, where potable water is scarce in thousands of villages, where poor, landless farmers are committing suicides on being unable to pay debt, where millions of children belonging to downtrodden families drop out or remain totally unlettered, and where poor labourers and villagers have still to defecate in the open, this misuse of public money on a controversial exercise is nothing short of sheer wastage.
As we said last week, yoga coupled with surya namaskar is a typical ritual of Hindu religion and culture and this should not be imposed on the minorities of our plural nation as it is 'detrimental to the respective beliefs of the minorities as well as to the secular ethos of the nation'. It is a good sign that Muslims and Christians have to a large extent kept from participating in this political exercise. As for those who proved gullible enough to participate therein, they should know for certain that there is no use of appeasing the powers-that-be as the Master and Sustainer of the world is Allah and He will make us accountable for our deeds done here in the Day of Judgement. They should stick to their beliefs and practices.


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