Modi leads over 37,000 to mark International Yoga Day

New Delhi, June 21 (IANS) It was an unprecedented demonstration of India’s soft power as a record-breaking 37,000 people, including senior officials and diplomats, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi performed yoga, as India marked the inaugural UN International Day of Yoga at a grand event in the national capital on Sunday.

The event at Rajpath, the ceremonial boulevard and the surrounding green expanse that connects Rashtrapati Bhavan, the presidential palace on Raisina Hill with the India Gate World War II memorial, was replicated across state capitals, cities, towns and rural areas in the country, which Modi in his speech described as the start of a new era for training the human mind for mind-body balance, peace and harmony.

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Modi, who himself joined in doing the asanas among the crowd of yoga performers, said yoga is not only an exercise to make the body flexible but a path for inner development.

“It marks a new era of training of human mind for peace and harmony,” said Modi, attired in a while full-sleeve loose white shirt and white lowers, with a scarf in the saffron, green and white colours of the Indian flag thrown around his neck.

Over 200 million people across India marked the International Day of Yoga with official events. Events are also being held in 192 countries, being organized by the Indian missions and yoga centres, to mark the occasion.

India is seeking to notch a few records with the mammoth yoga event, which was being closely monitored by officials of the Guiness World Records present at Rajpath. A large media contingent, including the foreign press, were present to cover the international event.

Among the multitudes doing yoga on Rajpath were US Ambassador Richard Verma, in white T-shirt and black track pants, Nepal Amnbassador Deep Kumar Upadhyay, Afghanistan’s Shaida Mohammad Abdali and numerous members of the foreign diplomatic core as well as foreign students studying in India.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, Delhi Lt Governor Najeeb Jung, and Delhi former top cop Kiran Bedi were among the prominent personalities who joined in the yoga.

Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar and Cabinet Secretary Ajit Seth were also present, but did not join in the yoga. Senior officials of joint secretary rank and above from the Prime Minister’s Office and other ministries also were present.

Remarking at the sea of people at Rajpath, Modi said: “Did anybody ever think that Rajpath can become Yogpath.”

Modi did all the 35 asanas listed in the Common Yoga Protocol that were performed on Sunday. A group of yoga experts performed the yoga exercises on a stage, which was beamed to the crowd via around 25 large screens, with instructions in Hindi and English.

Modi is a keen yoga enthusiast on whose proposal the UN announced holding of International Yoga Day on June 21.

The one and a half hour-long event, which began at 6.45 a.m. after the prime minister’s arrival, ended at 8 a.m., and just escaped the sharp pre-monsoon showers that drenched the national capital soon after.

As soon as the event got over, the sky became overcast as strong gusts of wind shook the tree branches along the Rajpath boulevard. As the crowds dispersed, droplets of rain began to fall, and in 20 minutes it poured.

A strong security arrangement was present around the Rajpath venue and only those with special invitee cards were allowed in.

Children from government schools, including young ones aged 10, had woken up at 3 a.m. to join their compatriots at Rajpath. Over 1,200 women training to join the police were also present, as were senior citizens and yoga enthusiasts.

Muslim participants, some of who came wearing the skull cap, joined in the yoga with enthusiasm. There was also 11-year-old Mohd Aseem from a government school in Vivek Vihar, who said he enjoyed doing yoga.

The US envoy said he found the yoga session “excellent” and was happy to be part of the occasion.

The envoy of Burkina Faso, Idriss Raoua Ouedraogo, a keen yoga enthusiast, who has been practicing yoga for over 27 years and is a teacher, said he was delighted to have been part of the occasion.

13 Comments

  1. Congratulations!! Finally, we have a Prime Minister who is not ashamed of his own country and culture. New India is more confident and proud of yoga and other heritage!!

    • Why are you afraid to recite the Yoga Hindu Prayer – “Lead me from untruth to truth, darkness and death to immortality”? Mr. Hari Prasad to our Atheist (who ONLY happens to believe).

      Sir, when our Original Rampu (who ALSO happens to know everything about everything) is the TRUTH himself and has already attained “immortality”, what else is left for him to do and that too looking for the TRUTH? Isn’t that like REINVENTING the wheel ALL OVER AGAIN?

  2. Dear Pai Sir,

    Why are you afraid to recite the Yoga Hindu prayer “ Lead me from untruth to truth, darkness and death to immortality”. Why are atheists afraid to ask God if he really exists?

  3. Dear Hari Prasaada,
    I’m not sure if I fully understood your question. I have no problem in chanting generic, positive, feel-good prayer. However, I didn’t understand your second question. How can we ask God if he really exists ? Do you know how to do it?

    • Dear Pai Sir,

      You say that you have no problem in saying prayers Yet you pose the question how to ask God. Prayer is asking God.

    • Amit Shaw’s ‘dollu hotte’ is probably easier to address using yoga than the Roy’s ajeerna!! However, yoga may eventually help these self-hating personalities to come out of insecure, depressing mindset and appreciate life and our heritage.

  4. Finally,we have a prime minister not ashamed of country and culture- Mr.Original Atheist

    Sir,

    “There was a time when people said what sin did we do in our previous life that we were born in India, what kind of country is this, what kind of government is this, what kind of people are these, let’s leave it and go away somewhere else,” Modi comment in Seoul.

    Pradhan Sevak made similar remarks in Shanghai “Earlier, you felt ashamed of being born Indian,”

    Mr.Original likewise who dissertated his own motherland ‘Bhratha’ for mere some addition ‘green back’ ,found a new love for his own country in foreign land.But he still wants minorities to force sing ‘vande mataram’ ,however he enjoys the western culture swearing ‘oath of allegiance to defend foreign land proudly keeping palm on chest like RSS song.

    Jai hind

  5. I have no problem in chanting generic,chanting,feel good prayer-Mr.Original to Mr.Hari Prasad

    Sir, Instead of waiting for next year to celebrate Hegdwar anniversary coincides with ‘Yoga day’, why don’t practice Namaaz which has eight yoga postures and yoga is not un-Islamic, says Modi’s Yoga minister Shripad Yesso Naik.

    BJP’s Azaan: Namaaz has eight yoga postures and yoga is not un-Islamic, says Shripad Yesso Naik

    Read more at:
    http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/47592911.cms?utm_source=contentofinterest&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=cppst

    “It can be seen that 48 units in 5 prayers a day will involve 96 Sajdahs, 48 rukus, 48 qayam (standing) and 74 sitting positions and 34 salams (turning neck right and left). It also involves 18 movements on the elbow joint (Takbeer), this number being much greater in Shafai and Shia schools, 248 movements (flexion and extension) of hip joints and at least 96 movements of the knees. These are approximate numbers. With these kinds of figure, the net impact on the physical, mental and spiritual health of the individuals has to be tremendous. But it must be clarified that the basic aim of the prayers is not body building; Prayers are meant for proximity with God, but God has been kind enough to design a scheme of prayers that also cause huge physical and mental benefits.”

    We wish all our Hindu brothers a Happy Yoga Day and will be more than happy if we find them engaged in Yoga exercises as a routine rather than simply being a part of a one day show.

    Can we expect Mr.Original to observe ‘Namaz Day’ instead of ‘Yoga day’, when he has no reservation regarding following Atheism?

    Jai hind

    • “…;Namaz Day’ instead of ‘Yoga day’…” challenges sharia shaikh.

      This is very typical of ‘peaceful community’ who have different strategies depending on their population in a given society. When they are small minority (as seen in North America and many European countries), they will play victim card and demand special treatment. When they are in the range of 10%-15% of the population (as in certain parts of Europe and India), they will confront, mock and aggressively demand others to follow their way of life. When they are majority (as in ‘peaceful’ belt from Morocco to Kashmeer), they will simply wipe out the minorities and impose a strict sharia code.

      So, there is nothing surprising to see Sharia Shaikh and his group not only rejecting Yoga, but also aggressively trying to replace it with ‘Namaz’ in India. If it isn’t for tough players like doddanna, kempanna, RSS, Israel and China, most of the world would be praying five times a day facing Saudi!!

      • Dear Shaken Shake,
        You better fight for equality in China..instead of targeting poor Indians!!
        See the news below of which although you are aware want to keep mum!!
        http://www.ndtv.com/world-news/china-restricts-ramadan-fasting-in-far-western-region-772852?utm_source=taboola
        BEIJING: China has banned civil servants, students and teachers in its mainly Muslim Xinjiang region from fasting during Ramadan and ordered restaurants to stay open, official websites showed as the holy month began today.

        Most Muslims are required to fast from dawn to dusk during the month but China’s ruling Communist party is officially atheist and for years has restricted the practice in Xinjiang, home to the mostly Muslim Uighur minority.

        “Food service workplaces will operate normal hours during Ramadan,” said a notice posted last week on the website of the state Food and Drug Administration in Xinjiang’s Jinghe county.

  6. Dear readers,

    In his earlier reply Mr.Original Atheist Pai to Mr.Hari prasad despite being a ‘Atheist’ he has no problem chanting generic,positive,feel good prayer while practicing ‘Yoga’. When his own adherent political clout when Yoga minister has no problem with eight postures in Namaz.

    For practicing ‘Yoga day’ one need to wait for longest day in an year which should coincide with RSS Gujrji Hegdwar anniversary. But practicing ‘Namaz’ one needs to have proper time management. But it must be clarified that the basic aim of the prayers is not body building; Prayers are meant for proximity with God, but God has been kind enough to design a scheme of prayers that also cause huge physical and mental benefits.”

    There are more ‘Namaz day’ followers across globe than symoblic corporate driven ‘Yoga day’. Nobody knows where is the origin of some ‘Assanas’.

    If Mr.Original Pai is a true ‘Atheist’ follower he has no reservation chanting feel good in ‘Namaz’ for health benefit. While objecting he slipped to his own cracsk and he exposed his true identity once again like his RSS Guruji. Gowalkar, a key RSS leader for a very long time, started off on a wrong foot on virtually everything. His Hitler fascination is legendary. His Muslim hatred is widely known. His fascination for eugenics was great, although not as well known (“the belief that only the Brahmins of the North, specifically Namboodri Brahmanas, belonged to a superior race – the first off-spring of a married woman of any class must be fathered by a Namboodri Brahmin and then she could beget children by her husband.”). A racist (Brahmins were the superior “race” in his model). And his strong belief in Manusmriti and caste.

    Does Mr.Original follows RSS founder K.B.Hedgewar version of ‘Atheist’ who believes insisted on the term ‘rashtriya’ (national) for his exclusively ‘Hindu’ organization, for he wanted to re-assert the identity of Hindu with rashtriya?

    While RSS and Jinah Muslim league collabarated with British East India company,Mr.Original can’t resist green back went to US to realize the guruji’s ‘nationlisum’ after taking oath of allegiance defending foreign land.But he still challenging minority Muslims of India by force sing ‘vande mataram’ while enjoying luxuries of US deserting ‘Bharatha’.

    Jai Hind

  7. Mr.Mango man,

    Sir, I am still proud Indian national by practice and respect the constitution rights to my community. The democracy of India is true plurasium in other words ‘Vasudev kuttumbakam’.

    If BJP Junior minister Naquvi saheb wants Muslims to go to Pakistan if one needs to eat beef he must read the history of Indian independence and contribution of Muslims like Moulana Abdul Kalam and Ashfaqullah Khan.

    Read the history of USSR.For many generation Muslims are prosecuted under Jew Stalin in the same as Chinese way. Today Muslim prayer call is everywhere in breakaway Russia.

    The Almighty Allah wants hewill tumble the favor in any direction. This is message for Chinese and RSS who wants convert India into Hindu Rashtra by 2022 before 100 years of its birth.

    Jai HInd

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