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International Yoga Day: Second edition of mega-event to shed its 'Hindutva' tag

Shorn of its ostensible Hindutva aspects – like the mandatory chanting of 'Om', or performing Surya Namaskar asanas etc – the second International Day of Yoga celebrated on Tuesday was a truly secular and international event.

 International Yoga Day: Second edition of mega-event to shed its Hindutva tag

PM Narendra Modi performed yoga with people in Chandigarh. Image courtesy: PIB

Adding to the silver lining is the fact that out of a total 135 countries participating in the celebrations, as many as 40 Muslim nations extended their support to this global event in India.

This mega event on yoga will also catapult NDA government’s image, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on the international level, especially since the first edition had been branded by political opponents as a ‘saffronised’ event meant to tow the Hindutva agenda.

Unlike previous year’s event – which despite of winning many laurels had faced criticism from certain quarters – the government, this time around, has displayed extra caution, ensuring that the objective of International Yoga Day is to spread awareness about yoga globally, and to be in sync with the logo of the event.

“The logo of International Day of Yoga is the folding of both hands. It symbolizes ‘Yoga’ that is the union, which reflects the union of individual consciousness with that of universal consciousness, a perfect harmony between mind and body, man and nature – a holistic approach to health and well-being. Clearly, it has nothing to do with religion,” a government official closely associated to International Yoga Day celebration told Firstpost.

The day (21 June), which the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) had declared as the ‘International day of Yoga’ on 11 December 2014, has received unprecedented international support.

"175 nations, including the US, Canada and China co-sponsored the resolution. It has the highest number of co-sponsors ever for any UNGA Resolution of such nature,” the official added.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi led a yoga programme comprising a crowd of more than 35,000 people in Chandigarh’s Capitol Complex, while 57 Union ministers have been scheduled to take part in similar programmes across India.

Each senior Cabinet minister has been assigned either a state capital or a major city. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley took the lead role in Mumbai, poll-bound Uttar Pradesh witnessed the presence of the maximum of 10 Cabinet ministers led by Home Minister Rajnath Singh. Last year, Modi had led 36,000 people at Delhi’s historic Rajpath to mark the first celebration of the International Yoga Day, that was also observed across the world.

Outlining the response that the Yoga Day had received, Modi in a video message said, “When I outlined a vision for an International Yoga Day in September 2014 at the UN General Assembly, even I didn’t anticipate the enormous enthusiasm from all corners of the world.”

The Centre’s intention to keep the mega event a truly ‘secular one’ has reportedly received the endorsement of BJP’s mentor organization, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) – all this while one of the Sangh affiliates has decided to organize an Iftar party next month, shedding the anti-Muslim image of the RSS.

The mega celebration in numbers:

- 135 plus nations participating.

- Estimated 40-50 crore yoga day participants from across the world.

- Over one lakh yoga programmes across India.

- 35,000 people, led by the PM, participated in the event in Chandigarh.

- 57 ministers led yoga programmes in various parts of the country.

- 10,000 participants simultaneously performed yoga at various locations in Delhi.

- $80 billion: the estimated evaluation of the yoga industry worldwide.

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Updated Date: Jun 21, 2016 09:41:57 IST