Written by Staff Writer
21 Jun, 2015 | 11:44 am
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi performed yoga along with thousands of people at a mass ceremony in New Delhi’s ceremonial avenue, Rajpath, to mark the International Yoga Day on Sunday (June 21).
Modi joined more than 35,000 people including students, politicians, bureaucrats and armed forces personnel, as part of his international drive to promote the ancient Indian exercise.
Modi practised physical poses and breathing control at the event at Rajpath, an elegant lawn-bordered boulevard that connects the presidential palace to India Gate.
Addressing the gathered thousands before the mass yoga session, Modi said the mind was being trained for the start of a new era of peace and goodwill.
“Through the UNO (United Nations Organisation) today is the start of International Yoga Day. But I believe that from today, the 21st of June, on International Yoga day, we are not only celebrating a day but we are training the human mind to begin a new era of peace and goodwill,” Modi said.
Modi asked if anyone ever imagined Rajpath could be a “Yoga-path”. He also lauded the countries who agreed to celebrate the day along with India.
“I thank UNO, 193 countries across the globe that accepted the proposal of this event and I also thank 177 countries who co-sponsored the event and accepted the importance of yoga,” said Modi.
Exuberated by the early morning yoga session, participants pledged to make the exercise form a part of their daily routine.
“It is a very good experience and also I am very gladful (glad) for performing yoga in this very historical way Rajpath and also I feel that every human being should perform daily,” said a participant, Harshita.
While another participant, Manish, expressed his happiness of sharing the platform with Modi.
“I felt very good. Actually we are feeling revitalized. We realised the importance of yoga in life and we will continue the same thing in our life,” he said.
In rest of the part of the country, state governments made elaborate arrangement to celebrate the day on the call of Modi. Over 100,000 camps have been set up across the country for people to do yoga wherein millions are expected to take part.
Whereas, outside India, about 193 countries are expected to celebrate the day.
The United Nations declared June 21 the first International Day of Yoga after adopting a measure proposed by the Modi government. Modi used his first speech at the U.N. General Assembly in September to call for such a day to be recognised.
Modi is an enthusiastic practitioner of yoga. He says he performs yoga exercises every day and credits them with giving him energy so he only needs a few hours sleep each night.
Modi had set up a new ministry AYUSH for yoga last year.
In November, Modi appointed India’s first minister to promote yoga and traditional medicines as he embarked on a mission to increase awareness about home-grown health treatments. Modi also introduced a plan to allow government officials to practice yoga at work.
However, the run-up to the event was marred by acrimonious exchanges between Hindu right-wingers and Muslim radicals. Members of India’s minority groups say the move to promote yoga is a ploy to whip up Hindu pride and marginalise the country’s 175 million Muslims.
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