Slamming the political showdown over yoga in view of the upcoming International Yoga Day event, Minister Suresh Prabhu says yoga is not against any religion and that all 14 lakh railway employees should do it to stay fit
While yoga has turned into a battlefield for political parties, Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu has slammed the entire controversy around it. In fact, Prabhu wants all the 14-lakh employees working for the Indian Railways to practise yoga during work hours without letting productivity get affected.
Yoga events: Centre took step to appease Muslims; says Sadhvi
Western Railway employees learn yoga from an instructor, in one of the batches that began on May 25
“Yoga is not against any religion. It is good for the mind, body, and soul and it will finally improve health of the railway employees. So I want all my 14 lakh rail employees to practise yoga to stay fit,” Prabhu told this reporter.
mid-day had reported on May 26 (‘Motormen turn to yoga to bring their lives on track’) that Central Railway and Western Railway had both begun sending their employees for yoga classes.
The initiative had been taken after a railway employee wrote to the GM, highlighting that there was a risk of a Germanwings-like incident happening in Mumbai’s suburban local trains because motormen were always under extreme stress.
Since May 25, the railways have been organising yoga sessions at CST and Mumbai Central. Four batches (10-11 am, 11.15 am 12.15 pm, 2.30 pm-3.30 pm, and 4.30 pm-5.30 pm) of 30-40 employees each have been attending these classes.
After they underwent medical tests, asanas were planned for them and these employees are doing 7-10 asanas every day, besides pranayam, to improve their concentration and reduce stress. “This is a pilot project that will go on for one month. After that, another batch will be included.
If the previous employees want to continue, then they can get in touch with our teachers,” said Subodh Tiwari, joint director, Kaivalyadhama Yoga Institute, which has been roped in to teach the railway employees.
India is leading the world in the International Yoga Day celebrations planned on June 21, in 192 countries around the world. The Indian event itself has been mired in controversy after the Central government’s programme included, besides asanas, Surya Namaskars and shlokas.
Muslim religious bodies had expressed their reservations over the latter, leading the government to clarify that performing yoga was not compulsory. The Central government had also issued an order asking all schools to remain open on this day a Sunday so that children and staff members could also participate in this grand event.
In Delhi, at Rajpath, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will lead a mass demonstration of 15 yoga asanas. The gathering of 45,000 will include school children, diplomats, Army personnel, and NCC cadets.
The Indian government is attempting a world record the most number of people performing yoga in a class – and the Ministry of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani and Siddha (AYUSH) has already registered the event with the Guinness World Records.