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Row over chanting Om during Yoga: It’s not mandatory says Naidu

Amid row over chanting of ‘Om’ before yoga session on International Yoga Day, Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu On Tuesday said it is not mandatory.

india Updated: May 19, 2016 09:33 IST
Yoga,M Venkaiah Naidu,Om
Children do yoga to mark International Yoga Day (Vidya Subramanian/HT photo)

Amid row over chanting of ‘Om’ before yoga session on International Yoga Day, Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu On Tuesday said it is not mandatory.

He said it is just a sort of exercise or discipline which unifies the body and the mind and has been accepted even by the International community.

“Entire world observed the International Yoga Day last year. It was a clear acknowledgement of ancient Indian wisdom. Yoga is a sort of exercise or discipline unifying body and mind.

“Do not make Yoga controversial. If you don’t want to say Om, don’t say. It is not mandatory,” he said while addressing the valedictory session of the National Conference on ‘Reforming & Rejuvenating Indian Higher Education – A stakeholders Perspective’.

On Monday, the controversy broke out over the UGC’s directive asking universities and colleges to follow Ayush ministry’s yoga protocol that begins with chanting of ‘Om’ and some Sanskrit sholakas during Yoga Day celebrations on June 21.

In his letter to universities last week, UGC secretary Jaspal S Sandhu had sought the “personal indulgence” of Vice Chancellors in celebrating yoga day in their varsities as well as affiliated bodies.

Taking a dig at previous UPA government, he said the Modi-government has inherited “fiscal deficit, revenue deficit, trade deficit, current account deficit and above all trust deficit” from them.

Even after 68 years of Independence, he said India still faces basic problems such as availability of drinking water, rural roads, sanitation, health and education.

Stressing on making students understand about India’s rich cultural heritage, Naidu said there was nothing wrong in learning new languages but one should not forget his mother tongue.

“I am not against English...Nothing wrong in learning languages but do not forget the mother tongue. It is difficult to move forward without knowing Hindi in Hindustan,” he said.

Talking about the disturbances in various varsities across the country, he said the problems occurred in “just 3-4 universities” out of the total 740 varsities but it was painted as the entire country was under “unrest”.

“Now a days, we are witnessing new trends in campus turbulence that are relatively new. To begin with, the issues that have created disturbances in campuses appear to be increasingly detached from the concerns of the wider society,” he said.

“Whether it the JNU issue, or the HCU issue or the prolonged agitation over the appointment of Gajendra Chauhan to head the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), the beef festival in Hyderabad or the never-ending battles involving the students and administration of Jadavpur University in Kolkata -- the themes of student unrest very rarely find reflection outside the campus,” he added.

He said the students should go to the universities to “study but not to create anarchy”.

First Published: May 19, 2016 09:32 IST