Politics or no politics, Bihar gears up for big Yoga day show

  • Arun Kumar, Hindustan Times, Patna
  • Updated: Jun 18, 2015 15:10 IST

The stage is set for the celebration of International day of Yoga in a big way in Bihar.

Though the Bihar government has not yet made any move to declare participation mandatory for government schools students, Patanjali Yogpeeth and organisations aligned to the BJP have decided to rope in young Muslim girls as yoga trainers to send the message across.

The Patanjali Yogpeeth, in association with Nehru Yuva Kendra, Sri Sri Ravishankar’s Art of Living, Sudhanshuji Maharaj’s organisation and a few others, has organised a mega camp at the Moinul Haque Stadium in Patna. “Over 20,000 people are expected to participate in it”, said national in-charge of the Yogpeeth Ajit Kumar.

BJP president Amit Shah will also participate in the camp, which will begin at 5 30 am. “From 7 00am to 7 33am, it will follow the national protocol prepared by the ministry of Ayush, with a list of asanas and pranayams,” he added.

What is significant about the camp is that the Yogpeeth has involved a number of Muslim women to train the participants, including Shah, about the nuances of yoga in an apparent bid to send across the message that it is neither a taboo to Muslims, nor can it be confined to any particular religion.

“There will be yoga experts from Patanjali and other places to spread the message of yoga as a means to stay healthy. Reshma Khatoon, Md Tamanna, Bismillah Khatoon, Asha Kumari, Gita Kumari, Menka Kumari, Nimita Kumari, besides senior experts like Aruneshji, Pankaj Pandeyand Rajnishji are to guide the participants,” he added.

Tamanna and a few others are from Lal Saraiya village in West Chamaparan, where yoga is quite popular. “The girls have been doing yoga for years,” he added.

Kumar said, most of the Muslim girls selected as trainers are young. Besides Shah, Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad and several senior Bihar BJP leaders are expected to participate in it.” Naturally, it will help send the message across about the impact of yoga and why people cutting across caste and creed should adopt it as a way of life to stay healthy,” he added.

On the other hand, the Bihar gover nment does not seem enthused.

Education minister PK Shahi said he was yet to get any proposal organising yoga camps in schools. “I think it has turned out to be more of a show. So far, there is no instruction to schools. My department has not moved any proposal in this regard so far,” he added.

Former deputy chief minister, Sushil Kumar Modi, however, said the state was in receipt of a letter from Union home secretary AK Seth, requesting it to instruct government school children to participate as per the protocol laid down by the Centre. “They have chosen to ignore and trash it”, he said, adding, “If BJP came to power, it would introduce yoga in the school curricullum, though it would not be mandatory, but optional”.

Earlier chief minister Nitish Kumar had also targeted the BJP president Amit Shah and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and said they had made yoga a matter of “political show-off and publicity”. He went on to term the BJP’s move to hold a yoga camp on June 21 a “drama”. The CBSE schools will, however, organise it. “We have circulated the CBSE circular to all the schools to organise yoga,” said CBSE regional director Rashmi Tripathi.

The universities are also organising it.

The Maulana Mazharul Haque Arabic and Persian University in Patna will organise a programme. Its vice chancellor, Ezaz Ali Arshad said that he would not be present at the function, as he has been invited as a special guest at another function organised by the famous Bihar School of Yoga, founded in 1964 by Sri Swami Satyananda Saraswati in Munger district. This yoga school, however, was not ‘invited’ by the Centre to join the show, despite being globally known, chief minister, Nitish Kumar had charged yesterday.

BJP leaders here said, “Since Munger Yoga school is an exclusive preserve and closed to common man and the Centre’s brief was to take it to the common man, organisations with mass following were selected. It had nothing to do with politics”.

India’s seventh oldest Patna University and Tilka Manjhi Bhagalpur University have also organised programmes in the morning, as per the UGC guidelines.

“Teaching, non-teaching employees and students will gather in the Senate Hall and do yoga under the guidance of director of Yoga Sansthan, Dr Prabhakar Devraj, and other experts. There will be a group event also and the top three performers will be awarded. PU VC Dr YC Simhadri will also be present. An online essay competition on the theme of yoga will also be held to mark the International day of Yoga,” said PU NSS coordinator Atul Aditya Pandey.

TMBU VC RS Dube, said that after the national programme, a lecture would be organised on ‘yoga’ by eminent experts to apprise the students and teachers of the benefits of yoga.

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