Lucknow – the City of Nawabs – is likely to host the main event of the International Day of Yoga (IDY) celebrations in which Prime Minister Narendra Modi may also participate.
“Lucknow is likely to hold the main event of the International Day of Yoga, which falls on June 21. However, a final decision in this regard is yet to be taken,” a senior state BJP leader said.
He said that the Ayush Ministry has proposed Lucknow as the venue for the main function for IDY celebrations this year and is waiting for final nod from the Prime Minister’s Office.
Earlier, the government was considering Bhopal, Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Ranchi and Bengaluru as possible venues for the event.
The Union Ayush Ministry is also planning to organise a major yoga event in at least one city in each district across the country.
The ministry zeroed in on Lucknow as the possible venue at a review meeting on the preparations for the IDY which is observed on June 21.
The official website of the Ayush ministry on its webpage pertaining to International Day of Yoga also requests the people visiting the page to make the following pledge — “I pledge to make Yoga an integral part of my daily life.” So far, 2.6 lakh visitors have pledged to make Yoga an integral part of their daily life.
The first IDY celebration was organised at Rajpath in New Delhi on June 21, 2015 in which representatives of 191 countries had participated. Last year, the main function took place in Chandigarh.
The United Nations General Assembly, heeding to a call by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, had made a declaration in December 2014 to observe June 21 as IDY every year.
On March 29, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, while addressing the three-day UP Yoga Mahotsava in Lucknow, had said that ‘Surya Namaskar’ was similar to ‘Namaz’ (prayers) offered by Muslims and those opposing the yogic exercise wanted to divide the society on religious lines.
Adityanath, who had in the past lashed out at a section of Muslims for terming the practice of ‘Surya Namaskar’ as “un-Islamic”, said the Sun salutation was a beautiful example of religious harmony.
“The namaz offered by Muslims resembles different postures and asanas of surya namaskar including pranayama. What a beautiful example of harmony (between two religions). But some ‘bhogis’ who do not believe in yoga, indulged in dividing the society on lines of caste, creed, religion and region among others,” he said.
“All asanas (postures) in surya namaskar, pranayama activities are similar to the way Namaz is offered by our Muslim brothers. But nobody ever tried to bring them together because few people were interested only in ‘bhoga’ not yoga,” he said.
“Before 2014, even talking about Yoga was considered communal. But things changed after Modi took steps to make Yoga popular across the world,” he said.
Lauding the Prime Minister for making Yoga a global phenomenon, Adityanath had said, “PM Modi deserves all the credit for the global recognition which Yoga has got.”
“The number of countries which participated in the International Yoga Day celebrations in 2015 was 175, which went up to 192 in the subsequent year,” he said.
Meanwhile, the University Grants Commission (UGC) has directed all universities to organise training programmes on common yoga protocol.
It has urged university VCs to personally supervise efforts in their institutions and affiliated colleges to make the plan a success.
Apart from ensuring mass yoga performances on campuses, the universities have been asked to conduct discourses, lectures and talks by eminent yoga experts.
Prof Jaspal S Sandhu, UGC secretary in a letter (dated April 5) has asked the universities and colleges to take support of reputed yoga institutions for providing instructions to trainers for Yoga Day.
The letter has been sent to 52 central universities, 357 state varsities, 123 deemed universities and 273 private universities of the country.
The main programme would be the mass yoga demonstration from 7.00 am to 8.00 am, which will adhere to Common Yoga Protocol (CYP). Other events would include yoga fests, seminars, workshops, musical and cultural programmes.