Yoga will help ‘bring peace’ in Pakistan: Indian minister

Published: June 21, 2015
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Indian children perform water yoga as they take part in a mass yoga session to mark the International Yoga Day at Dau ri Dhani Swiming Pool in Jodhpur on June 21, 2015. PHOTO: AFP

Indian children perform water yoga as they take part in a mass yoga session to mark the International Yoga Day at Dau ri Dhani Swiming Pool in Jodhpur on June 21, 2015. PHOTO: AFP

KOLKATA: Indian Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has asked Pakistan to review its stance on International Yoga Day, as countries across the world celebrated with heightened zeal on Sunday.

Yoga will help ‘bring peace’ in Pakistan, the minister added.

Indian scholars believe yoga dates back 5,000 years, based on archaeological evidence of poses found inscribed on stones and references to Yogic teachings in the ancient Hindu scriptures of the Vedas.Members of the National Cadet Corps (NCC) take part in a mass yoga session to mark the International Yoga Day in the Brigade Parade grounds in Kolkata on June 21, 2015. PHOTO: AFP

Indian PM Narendra Modi, a vegetarian who practises the art daily, has made Yoga Day a key initiative of his Hindu nationalist government since he took office 13 months ago.

In his maiden address to the United Nations General Assembly, Modi proposed to dedicate a day devoted to the ancient Indian discipline, prompting the UN to proclaim June 21 as the International Day of Yoga.South Koreans take celebrate International Yoga Day. PHOTO: AFP

While addressing Yoga participants at Sports Authority of India (SAI) complex in Kolkata, Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad mentioned that 44 countries out of the 190 that have recognised the International Day of Yoga are Islamic countries.

“Pakistan too had said that it will talk about yoga in their country but it stopped it all of a sudden. I would request them to rethink as we feel that yoga would help them bring in peace there in their country too.”

“Our government want good relations with Pakistan. They had not done it is their matter but it would have been better if they had done it,” he told reporters later.

Read:Yoga reduces side effects of chemotherapy

But the government’s push for “yoga for harmony and peace” met with criticism in the run-up to Sunday, with some religious minorities accusing Modi of pushing a pro-Hindu agenda in officially secular India.

A few Muslim groups have complained that chanting the sacred Hindu sound of “Om” during yoga and certain poses, such as “surya namaskar” or sun salutation, have clear Hindu overtones and were against Islam.International yoga Day celebration Nepal. PHOTO: AFP

Prasad dismissed claims that Yoga is about any specific faith and added that it represents all of mankind.International Yoga Day celebration Paris. PHOTO: AFP

“Yoga is not a symbol of any particular faith, it is not a symbol of any particular path. It is a symbol of mankind, peace and brotherhood. It is a symbol of the culture, heritage of our country. Yoga is for moral values and for the well being of the mankind regardless of its community, faith or nationality,” he added.

The article originally appeared on Times of India

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Reader Comments (29)

  • Bharatiya from Oz
    Jun 21, 2015 - 5:29PM

    Modiji and team…Your vision and execution by your team is commendable..World is thanking Indians for bringing this initiative and putting an Bharatiya stamp on 21st June..Great job.

    With 44 Muslim countries supporting and promoting Yoga, Pakistan’s leaders unfortunately lost a golden opportunity to show case the world that they are not acting spoilt brat and have the maturity to be progressive without seeing everything through religious prism.

    Wasn’t this a classic self inflicted global isolation for Pakistan??Recommend

  • Maxx.
    Jun 21, 2015 - 5:50PM

    Yes if the likes of Ajit Kumar Doval and Indian defence minister, Parrikar was busy in it and stop supporting cross border terrorism through proxies like TTP and BLA.
    Does Yoga teaches how to be less obsessive about a particular country. Recommend

  • Timorlane
    Jun 21, 2015 - 5:50PM

    Yeah we saw what kind of peace was brought on

    the 3000 Muslims burned alive in Gujarat by

    these yoga loving fascist terrorists Recommend

  • N.S
    Jun 21, 2015 - 5:53PM

    If Yoga teaches you to be a peaceful person, and Modi being practicing it for the last so many years, how come he massacred 2000 innocent people in Gujarat, and has accepted it in few TV interviews. Recommend

  • yaldram
    Jun 21, 2015 - 6:21PM

    If pakistani pray 5 times a day it will automatically bring peace in everything.. As namaz is a combo pack that gives everything. we don’t need yoga.Recommend

  • Ahmed
    Jun 21, 2015 - 6:55PM

    If Muslims pray 5 times a day regularly, they won’t need this Yoga crap. Recommend

  • Savvy
    Jun 21, 2015 - 7:22PM

    Yoga day has been a success and as a good gesture Pakistan should also have participated and let people chose if they wanted to join. It takes more to do than to just talk about developing normality in relation between the two nations. The politics however takes precedence in all matters I guess despite the talk.Recommend

  • Tyggar
    Jun 21, 2015 - 10:32PM

    Pakistan does not need yoga, it needs some sanityRecommend

  • just_someone
    Jun 21, 2015 - 10:41PM

    @Bharatiya from Oz:
    Are you clinically insane…because if youre not, then there is some problem…Recommend

  • Sad but true
    Jun 22, 2015 - 1:36AM

    I agree with the Pakistanis on this. While the world is moving towards the 22nd. century, Pakistan is racing back in time to 700 A.D.Recommend

  • SUn Tzu
    Jun 22, 2015 - 2:40AM

    Funny , Yoga is alreadt very popular in Pakistan – check many you-tube videos of ordinary people in Pakistan doing Yoga. There was no need to bring in politics. Just as Judo spread from Japan, Baseball from USA, this is nothing different.Recommend

  • satender rajput
    Jun 22, 2015 - 2:52AM

    @N.S:
    in which tv interview he accepted that? please post the link. Recommend

  • Ridwan
    Jun 22, 2015 - 6:58AM

    Indians like to claim yoga cures everything. Baba Ramdev even said yoga can “cure” homosexuality! Thanks, but no thanks. Recommend

  • Ridwan
    Jun 22, 2015 - 7:02AM

    @Bharatiya from Oz:

    Pakistan lost an opportunity to prove something to the world? No it didn’t. Because no ones cares about international yoga day except India. No one at all will use this day as a metric for anything. Even the few westerners who partook don’t care about its politics.Recommend

  • AryaRaja
    Jun 22, 2015 - 7:30AM

    The whole world is saluting Hindu Yoga. Pakistanis were also Hindu once. Its in your DNA. Come back to your roots,Recommend

  • Mrs Juicy Gossips
    Jun 22, 2015 - 7:51AM

    @yaldram: Well tell that to our own group of tarot card readers and astrologers in Pakistan. It boggles the mind how these charlatans on the one hand spew out Hocus-Pocus on TV to callers seeking ‘expert’ advice for the various concerns in their lives, and on the other hand advise those same callers to recite this or that Koranic verse ??!
    How can the two be reconciled?Recommend

  • Sandip
    Jun 22, 2015 - 8:05AM

    @Timorlane: The number seems to be going up every day. What have you been having?Recommend

  • usman777
    Jun 22, 2015 - 8:19AM

    we have been fighting for centuries…. putting both of our legs behind our neck is not going to change us….Recommend

  • Bangalorean
    Jun 22, 2015 - 9:33AM

    If some good things adopted early by Indians or good practices are made popular by Indian, shouldn’t make Citizen of Pakistan to be sceptical about those things in daily life.. ……. ……..

    Yoga, Truth and Peace are two basic fundamental way of life that has been adopted by most of the nations in last 100 years and moved on.. These two things have helped those nations think beyond boundaries and help in adopted foreign policies that are suitable for harmonious life. However not fully, but without these principles this world can again go in chaos what it was in past……… .. ……. ……..

    Yoga, Truth and Peace are not being talked about in Pakistan because they are linked with a nation (Indian Civilization) and a person (Gandhi) people in Pakistan don’t like about.. However very survival of humanity in modern world is based on these principle which most nations don’t deny.. You can keep hating us (Indian), no problem but my humble opinion is to adopt the good practices which will help Citizen of Pakistan and as to humanity overall.. .. ……. ……..Recommend

  • Mrs Juicy Gossips
    Jun 22, 2015 - 12:59PM

    @AryaRaja: And India a long long time ago was part of Africa ! So what ?? That was then and now is now. If one finds something better, an idea, technology, or religion, the rest is good bye and good riddance to bad garbage. Now do us a big favor and twist yourself into a pretzel.Recommend

  • Timorlane
    Jun 22, 2015 - 3:28PM

    @Sandip: Researching more thoroughly on the subject

    and this does not include the dozens of Pakistanis

    burned alive by yoga loving fascist terrorists

    in Samjhota Express in indiaRecommend

  • rajesh
    Jun 22, 2015 - 4:20PM

    @Timorlane:
    Whoa, a post using loaded terms, of course you wouldnt know what fascism is, its a term whose proponent was Mussolini and was into form of reactionary authoritarian nationalism .
    By your analogy, it would seem even the gunmen in USA who killed the blacks was’ fascist terrorist’,
    Secondly, Terrorism means unofficial or unauthorized use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims.Clearly, the act of arson in Samjhota express was as much “terrorist in design” as act of slaying of your late Punjab Governor Mr Salman taseer,whose perpetrator was not only showered with petals but was praised by all Mullahs and most Pakistani media alike

    Snap out of your cognitive dissonance !!!Recommend

  • Rezz
    Jun 23, 2015 - 12:04AM

    @Mrs Juicy Gossips:
    Twisting yourself into a pretzel is still better than getting blown up. Get the point?Recommend

  • HT
    Jun 23, 2015 - 12:34AM

    He has lost it…Officially!!!Recommend

  • Jun 23, 2015 - 9:16AM

    So Modi is peaceful? “Gujrat massacre” any one remember?Recommend

  • Stars
    Jun 23, 2015 - 12:09PM

    @asad yes youare right only namazis are peaceful…we have been seeing that right from its founder till today..Recommend

  • jagmohan
    Jun 23, 2015 - 1:04PM

    Doing yoga for physical and mental development,an age old Hindu practice has been
    recognised by most of the countries.And the western countries have accepted it without
    thinking its religious or cultural tags.Al Beruni,a celebrated Arabic author translated original
    Patanjalis book on yoga in Arabic for the masses.Some 44 Islamic countries are participating
    in yoga day celebration.There are certain words or phrases indicating Hindu religious things,
    they can be avoided or replaced by ones own religious invocation.In the context of Pakistan
    there is certain historical gap,hesitation,adopton of non islamic connotation etc.thus there
    is no compulsion,and also subject to ullema clearance.It may take more time to clear the
    chasm.No harm to watch and wait.Though societies have developed on cultural exchanges.Recommend

  • Mohammad
    Jun 23, 2015 - 1:44PM

    praying 5 times a day in Muslim style is the best and cleanest Yoga on the planet!! if you don’t believe, try it for a month. Recommend

  • Sandip
    Jun 24, 2015 - 4:53AM

    @Timorlane: Looks like that research is based on watching the worthless talk shows blaring away on your televisions.Recommend

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