Ever heard of ‘secular yoga’ session? This is exactly what CPI (M) organised on Sunday in its stronghold of Kannur in north Kerala with an aim to contain the saffron surge. The session — without any mantra or ‘Om’ chant — was a customised yoga congregation by atheists. Instead of mantras, in the tailor-made session, mellifluous music accompanied the asanas.
Party general secretary Sitaram Yechury had once castigated yoga, saying its postures resembled dog’s movements.
As many as 1,200 trained volunteers in uniform assembled at Jawahar Stadium where renowned yoga guru Sri M — who recently held a countrywide yatra ‘walk of hope’ — inaugurated the two-hour session.
Interestingly, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi took yoga to international arena, the CPI (M) was planning yoga curriculum for its workers to contain saffron surge. The party had asked Indian martial arts academy, a party-controlled institute, to customise yoga for easy consumption of comrades.
The Peravur-based academy was soon rechristened as Indian Martial Arts Academy and Yoga Study Centre, which identified 30 asanas omitting the ‘delicate’ ones like ‘surya namaskar’ where a practitioner has to invoke Lord Surya. Initially, the classes were for free but now the academy is planning to charge.
“It is not meant to emulate any other organisation... We want to help our workers suffering from new-age maladies and make them physically and mentally strong,” said E Rajeevan, the director of the academy.
Many view this as an attempt to checkmate BJP-RSS combine. Over 300 RSS and CPI (M) workers have been killed in the past three decades. With minorities fleeing its ship, the party is desperate to woo the majority community.