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True, yoga draws inspiration from Hindu religious texts, most notably the Patanjali yoga sutras, but its global appeal has transcended geographical and religious boundaries (Next, Padmasana, a BJP Pose?, Jun 15). While yoga, it is believed, relieves stress, creates a healthy balance between the mind and the body and brings its practitioner in contact with his inner self, the adroit politics of the World Yoga Day is worthy of a yoga guru. That said, it is unfortunate that strident protests from a section of Muslims, who saw a religious connotation in surya namaskar, have forced the government to withdraw the set of asanas on World Yoga Day. Most Muslims feel namaaz five times a day is on the lines of yoga. The increased incidence of riots targeting Muslims, the ban on beef, the reckless comments by BJP hardliners have so vitiated environs that Muslims are seeing even a healthy initiative by the government as detrimental to their religious beliefs. This was to be expected.
J.S. Acharya, Hyderabad
Do you need to oppose things for the sake of it? There is no question about yoga increasing India’s soft power and its tourist potential, nor about its proven neuro-scientific basis.
Pankaj Gupta, Allahabad
So after Swachh Bharat Abhiyan on October 2, Good Governance Day on December 25, we have World Yoga Day on June 21. The Modi government could do well to find out if the previous two missions have contributed to employees’ work ethic. The real exercise would be to get them to push files faster and stop seeing the rti Act as a red rag.
Padmini Raghavendra, Secunderabad
Will one day of yoga (like the discredited instant noodle) on World Yoga Day really make our ministers, bureaucrats and students better people? The government should stop indulging in gimmicks like directing children to attend WYD on a Sunday and instead come up with ideas that are actually beneficial in the long term? Why not make yoga part of the school curriculum?
K.P. Rajan, Mumbai
India means its culture, its language, its rivers, mountains and land, and its traditions. To love them is to be a true Indian. And that should include the likes of Asaduddin Owaisi.
Dayal Prasad, on e-mail
It is disheartening to see the controversy that has erupted around yoga when it should be a matter of pride that this practice of Indian origin is receiving worldwide recognition. Yoga indeed has nothing to do with religion; many police training institutions have regular yoga training classes, where trainees from the minority community participate freely.
Shyamal Dutta, Calcutta
Yoga is one of the six schools of Indian philosophy where via yog, meaning addition, the individual self links up with/becomes the universal self. While the Samkhya school is atheistic and the Advaita school believes in the Nirankari Brahma (formless universal self), yoga, as practised today is just a form of physical exercise.
Rakesh Agrawal, Dehradun
Regular yoga exercise can help a person invoke kundalini force—the source of insurmountable energy. All great writers, artists, painters and dancers, irrespective of their faith, have benefited immensely from yogic exercises. No one can know its mysterious power.
M.K. Somanatha Panicker, Alappuzha
No one would have had a problem with the government’s initiative had it been kept optional. That yoga is of Indian provenance and India’s gift to humanity is a matter of pride for us. Yoga evolved over millennia, is therapeutic and there is nothing intrinsically unacceptable about it to disown it outright. It’s also becoming increasingly relevant and beneficial in a world struggling to cope with the ‘fast pace of life’ with its resultant stress and sickness. It is a positive that there is no bar on anyone, no matter what his station in life, from practising yoga. What is disquieting is the ill-concealed attempt to make it a part of Hindu revivalism. True yogis actually transcend religious barriers.
G. David Milton, Maruthancode
There are 101 things that need to be corrected in India. Still our small-minded politicians go about foisting their pet beliefs, causing unnecessary controversies. If India had a last chance of making it big, it is becoming certain that Modi is not up to the task.
Dinesh Kumar, Chandigarh
In the fast-track lifestyle that we lead today, rushing to beat traffic, to finish deadlines, combating polluted air, water, noise, the growing urbanisation and consuming unhealthy food, we often compromise on our health. Yoga helps detoxify not only the body but also the mind. Yoga is not about religion and those who are bent upon making it so are petty and narrow-minded. Such men only aim to maim the country.
Koshika Krishna, Mumbai
Union home minister Rajnath Singh has finally confirmed that participation in yoga day celebrations is voluntary and not compulsory. The government should have done this right in the beginning and avoided unnecessary controversy.
People whose default asana is ahankara will never appreciate the depth of yogasanas.
B. Hari Das, Bangalore
Whatever Modi does attracts condemnation by Opposition parties, propped up by our pseudo-secular media.
Pramod Srivastava, New Delhi
Yoga is neither a Modi product nor a Hindu copyright.
M.C. Joshi, Lucknow
“Yoga means union; union within ourselves, union with the inherent spirit, and harmony between we and all—that is within and without and finally to achieve the realisation of the ultimate oneness of the whole cosmos.” This mystic wisdom has attracted over 80 million westerners. The American army has long incorporated it for their soldiers to ensure better coordination of body and mind. The UN boasts of yoga clubs. Indeed, surya namaskar and meditation are compulsory in many corporate houses in European countries. But paradoxically, Indian mainstream media sniffs at it and tries to undermine it.
Salil Gewali, Shillong
Merely celebrating June 21 as World Yoga Day is an exercise in futility and tokenism.
S.R. Devaprakash, Tumkur
Saba Naqvi’s bias against PM Modi comes through loud and clear. Fan or not, I believe once we as a nation have elected a government, it does not serve any purpose to keep on undermining the country’s prime minister.
Naveen Sood, on e-mail
Children don’t need compulsory yoga in school, they need nourishment with protein-rich food. Why not a World Religious Tolerance Day rather than a World Yoga Day?
K. Vasudeva Rao, Hyderabad
I believe Saba Naqvi’s main job at Outlook is BJP-bashing. I have never seen her write an article praising Modi or BJP.
Subodh Bhartiya, on e-mail