Kerala’s ruling Communist Party of India (Marxist) is planning to hold yoga sessions throughout the state on June 21, the International Yoga Day, to steal the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) thunder.
The communists are in no mood to sit idle when Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be leading the nation in a specially-organised session in Chandigarh to mark the day. Last year, the United Nations General Assembly decided to observe June 21 as the International Yoga Day after the PM’s suggestion in this regard.
The decision to hold the sessions comes after the party’s celebration of Sri Krishna Jayanti and Ganeshotsav. It even erected resting places for teeming Ayyappa devotees across the state.
Party workers, known atheists, usually skip such events. But the latest move is aimed at checkmating the BJP.
Though CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury once castigated yoga saying its postures resembled a dog’s movements it seems his cadres have realised the importance of the ancient exercise regime to cleanse the body and mind.
In state capital Thiruvananthapuram, a two-hour-long live demonstration will be held by 500 trained party workers drawn from various parts of the state. Similar sessions will be held in all district headquarters as the party does not want to leave any ground to saffron forces.
The party-controlled Indian Martial Arts Academy in Peravur in north Kerala’s Kannur district customised a yoga regime called ‘secular yoga’ omitting loud chants of ‘Om’ and other mantras last year. Instead of mantras, in the tailor-made Secular Yoga session, mellifluous music accompanied the ‘asanas’ or postures.
Secular Yoga has identified 30 asanas omitting ‘delicate’ ones like ‘surya namaskar’ where a practitioner has to invoke Lord Surya.
In the academy, classes were initially free but now it is planning to levy Rs 500 for eight classes in a month.
“It is not meant to emulate any other organisation. To practice yoga it’s not necessary one has to believe in a particular religion or custom. We want to help our workers suffering from new-age maladies and make them physically and mentally strong,” academy’s director E Rajeevan said.
He added that his academy, which conducted a mega yoga session in party stronghold Kannur in January this year, will enroll more workers in the coming days.