AS THE Yoga instructor counted one, hundreds of school students folded their hands in unison on the sprawling Tatya Tope Stadium in Bhopal to practice Surya Namaskar.
Standing before them on the dais with folded hands- the first of 12 postures of the exercise - was chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan. The government claimed there was participation of about 50 lakh students in the programme across the state.
Counting numbers 1 to 12, instead of the mantra signified the government’s cautious approach to keep away from any controversy. The Schools Education Department did ensure that Muslim students too participated. They performed the yogic exercise with ease along with their schoolmates.
Drawn from various schools in the city over nine thousand students under the supervision of their teachers turned up at TT Nagar Stadium.
The yoga instructor of Vivekanand Yoga Kendra, Kanyakumari’s State in charge Mukul Kanitkar tought the process followed by seven kinds of pranayam. The instructor ofcourse chanted “Oum” while practicing a particular pranayam.
A larger than life portrait of Swami Vivekanand in the backdrop with Vande Mantram scribbled on it gave a fillip to the atmosphere.
Chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan took off his jacket to join the students to perform the exercise.
Vice president, Jan Abhiyan Parishad Anil Dave, who shared the dais with the CM, performed the Aasan and pranayam.
The officials, who followed the CM, however, preferred to watch the action from their chairs.
The administration went full steam to ensure that there were no messy affairs in and around the stadium.
State BJP organising general secretary Makhan Singh, principal secretary, school education IS Dani, principal secretary, higher education Dr Bhagirath Prasad, commissioner, public instructions LS Baghel, director Rajya Shiksha Kendra MK Singh, commissioner, Bhopal division B Rajgopal Naidu and collector, Bhopal SK Mishra were present.