Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath on Wednesday questioned the rationale behind terming yoga as communal when many postures of the surya namaskar closely resemble that of the Islamic namaz.
Addressing a large gathering at the Yoga Mahotsav, organised by the Patajali Peeth at the Indira Gandhi Pratishthan on Wednesday, Adityanath said: “If this event was organised before 2014, its organisers would have been dubbed communal. That was just because of certain people with a negative mindset.”
The chief minister accused certain people of playing politics over yoga, despite its secular nature. “Everyone knows that surya namaskar postures are similar to that of namaz, but troublemakers give it a communal hue,” he said.
Adityanath said yoga was better than conventional physical exercises in many ways. “While yoga caters to your all-round health and well-being, exercise focuses merely on the physical aspect. People who prefer physical exercises become absent-minded as they age, but yogis always remain alert physically, mentally, spiritually and socially,” he added.
According to Adityanath, the negative mindset of the Congress government had resulted in India “moving backwards” between 2004 and 2014. “There was naxalism and terrorism, but no economic growth. But after Narendra Modi won the elections in 2014, he specified in his very first speech that we should maintain a positive outlook towards life. You can see the difference – our country is progressing at a much faster pace now. He went for demonetisation despite pressure and negativity from all sides, and succeeded in recovering black money from the safes of the rich and mighty.”
The chief minister vowed to follow in Modi’s footsteps, and not hesitate to take tough decisions that would benefit the state’s 22-crore population.
Adityanath said Modi had given him Uttar Pradesh in an age where people don’t even give bhiksha (alms) to saints. However, the task comes with certain responsibilities.
“When Amit Shah told me to take over the state, I had only one set of clothes with me. I was confused whether to accept it or not. However, not accepting the responsibility would have been akin to having an escapist attitude. So, I decided to think positive, and took it up,” he said.
Adityanath rued the fact that India had no university in the global top 100 list, and its people took no pride in their motherland in the years past. “But things are changing now. Modi has injected national pride in every individual, and you can see over 192 countries celebrating World Yoga Day now,” he said.