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Monday, July 16, 2018

The PM’s Trail: Your Yoga Guru, Narendra Modi, coming to a video near you 

The prime minister’s meeting this week with 111-year-old Sri Sri Sri Shivakumara Swamiji is certainly in line with the deep devotion the BJP’s top leaders also manifest when closely contested elections, like those in Karnataka, are around the corner.

Written by Jyoti Malhotra | Updated: April 1, 2018 5:17:20 pm
The PM’s Trail by Jyoti Malhotra Modi ji’s social media team deserves full marks for being ahead of the curve.

From speaking to students from Ahmedabad, Chennai, Pune, Varanasi, Bhubaneshwar, Bengaluru and other parts of the country (“you should think of a software where the aptitude and interests of a student can be mapped from his childhood, so that his parents and he/she can keep filling in such a form through the years and it will soon be easy to see what his interests and strengths are”) to speaking to the Shree Cutchi Leva Patel Samaj in Nairobi to greeting the nation on the occasion of Good Friday and Hanuman Jayanti and many, prime minister Narendra Modi has had another interesting week.

It’s interesting to see how much he packs together in the space of seven days. By now we know that his social media team is on top of his daily calendar, as that of the nation. It is believed the PM clears a handful of tweets every morning, personally, that will be published through the course of the day.

For example, the Good Friday Tweet :

With considerable consternation among India’s Christians at the manner in which the government has attempted to rebrand its major festivals – from Christmas to Good Governance Day, for example – the PM’s message on Good Friday was important.

As was on Easter, today :

Strangely, though, the PM’s Twitter timeline on Easter morning, only has a photograph of him meeting a sage in saffron clothes with a message in Kannada – there’s no translation of who, what, where, when and why. For a savvy social media team like the one the PM has, this is a mild Twitter disaster.

So Google Translate zindabad ! The holy man in question is Sri Sri Sri Shivakumara Swamiji, born 111 years ago on April 1, 1907, and the head of the Sree Siddaganga Mutt in Tumkur district in Karnataka.

With do-or-die elections coming up in Karnataka, it is interesting to see how both holy men and women are being aggressively wooed by both the BJP and the Congress. Swamiji was given the Karnataka Ratna award in 2007 and the BJP government at the centre awarded him the Padma Bhushan in 2015.

Meanwhile, the Congress government in Karnataka gave the powerful Lingayat community minority status a few days. In response, the BJP at the Centre has now said that it will consider stripping the Lingayats of the benefits of its Scheduled Caste status since it has now got “minority” status.

This so-called contradiction of “minorities” not being allowed to avail of benefits otherwise available to Scheduled Castes comes from a 1950 order, which said that people belonging to SC communities, or Dalits, are Hindus, and if they convert to another religion they will lose their Dalit status, and thus its benefits.

(This was challenged later by Sikhs and Jains, upon which both communities were allowed to retain their Dalit status and benefits. But when Dalit Christians and Dalit Muslims also sought the same benefits, their applications were denied. Note, that this distinction doesn’t apply to benefits given to certain Muslim castes who are considered to be part of the OBC list, for example the Ansari weaver caste.)

But there’s been nothing more interesting all week than the animated videos of none other than the Prime Minister teaching yoga. The quality of the animation is superb. Modi ji himself on a yoga mat, in a larg-ish room with lots of windows – presumably his home on Race Course road in the centre of Delhi.

Seems on his ‘Mann ki Baat’ programme on March 25, the PM “gave the clarion call for a ‘Fit India’ – a movement to take the nation forward on the path of fitness and wellness.” Seems the clarion call was made in response to one Yogesh Bhadresa who on the PM’s MyGov site suggested the need for a mass movement to keep India fit and healthy.

That gave rise to Your Yoga Guru, an animated version of PM Modi. In his sky-blue t-shirt and navy blue track pants, a trim-looking prime minister shows you the ropes.

There are two videos of two yoga postures so far – Tadasana and Trikonasana.

See this :

This Trikonasana video on March 25, however, came first :

Of course, International Yoga Day, which Mr Modi has promoted enthusiastically since he came to power, is round the corner – and this fourth year, we hear that external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj has sent a list of 20 shlokas to all Indian embassies and high commissions all over the world to promote, along with yoga.

It is fitting the PM shares his fitness obsession on social media. Certainly, the world of animation – synonymous in the average viewer’s mind with Walt Disney’s characters — has never had a real life character to play with, like this before. Modi ji’s social media team deserves full marks for being ahead of the curve.

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