Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Wednesday compared ‘Surya Namaskar’, a form of Yoga, with ‘namaz’ (prayers) offered by Muslims and said those opposing the yogic exercise wanted to divide the society on religious lines. The CM’s comparison has given rise to speculation in certain quarters that ‘Surya Namaskar’ may be made compulsory by the BJP government in days to come.
“All asanas (postures) in surya namaskar, pranayama activities are similar to the way namaz is offered by our Muslim brothers. But nobody ever tried to bring them together because a few people were interested only in ‘bhoga’ not Yoga,” said the CM adding that those performing Surya Namaskar improve their health and agility. He was speaking at the three-day Uttar Pradesh Yoga Mahotsava, being organised by Baba Ramdev’s Patanjali Yoga Peeth and Bharat Swabhimaan Nyas.
Taking into account an earlier controversy in 2015 over Surya Namaskar and All-India Muslim Personal Law Board’s (AIMPLB) warning to launch an agitation if it was made compulsory in schools, Yogi’s statement on the first day of Yoga Mahotsav assumes significance. “This may certainly give rise to speculation that Yoga may be made mandatory in government schools by the present regime in coming days,” opined Husain Afsar, a senior journalist.
The Chief Minister lauded the efforts of Prime Minister Narendra Modi for making United Nations declare June 21 as International Yoga Day. He also made use of the occasion to thank PM Modi for giving him the responsibility of Uttar Pradesh. “Modiji has given me Uttar Pradesh at a time when no one even offers alms to sadhus and saints,” he said.
UP Governor Ram Naik, who spoke on the occasion, also dwelt at length about the importance of performing Surya Namaskar and Yoga on regular basis. “During my school days, Surya Namaskar was mandatory. It is the best medicine to lead a tension-free healthy life,” said Naik.
“Yoga improves concentration and will power,” pointed out Yoga Guru Baba Ramdev. Deputy Chief Minister Dinesh Sharma assured the Yoga Guru that the present regime would consider his suggestion of ensuring regular physical exercise compulsory in schools.