In October 2013, I was invited to be a part of a group on Facebook. They called themselves progressive thinkers of the city and they would meet every month and debate and discuss various issues, social and political.
The first time we met, they were discussing the evils of patriarchy, which quickly turned into men discussing stigma against menstruating women, which quickly went on to Yoga and eventually concluded that Narendra Modi, who is now the Prime Minister of India, and who was the Chief Minister then, is the root of all evil.
Ah, well. In Ahmedabad, like rest of India, you are progressive only if you hate Modi and stand against any and everything he stands for.
One Mr. Mishra, an aethist, who took extreme pride in hating Modi, said, “I would love to do Yoga, but I don’t want to chant Om.”
A Yoga enthusiast said, “Well, then don’t. Just stay quiet at that time,” Mr. Mishra said, no. He is so anti establishment that he refuses to take instructions from anyone. I think Mr. Mishra may have been on substance which takes peace of mind to another level.
Last year, the UN declared 21st June as International Day of Yoga. The progressive, liberal thinkers of the country where Yoga originated dismissed it. This saffronisation would ruin the secular fabric of the nation.
Except, Yoga is as liberal as Indian Liberals. Indian Liberals hate everyone equally and Yoga benefits everyone equally, irrespective of faith they follow.
But then liberals are quick to point out that if you want to do it, practice it in your homes, why make a spectacle out of it? No one sees the irony when they advocate Earth Hour (by switching off power for an hour once a year) or World Environment Day (by planting a plant). Well, you could practice the same things at your place without letting the world know too, right?
But because Prime Minister Modi endorses it, how can we let it be a success? Blasphemy!
But take a moment and understand why International Day of Yoga could actually benefit India as a country.
Other than making people aware of health benefits (my mum has has issues with her knees since forever. She took up Yoga 3 months back, she can now actually sit on a low lying stool, which she couldn’t earlier.) of Yoga, Yoga could actually help Indian economy.
Here is how:
In November, 2014, the Government of India undertook some major visa reforms last year, expanding visa-on-arrival scheme to 43 nationalities from 12 countries earlier. It now offers e-tourist visa facility to nationals of 150 countries.
Earlier in June, the government announced that it would give tourist visa and e-tourist visa to foreigners willing to undergo short-term courses on yoga in its bid to popularise the ancient spiritual and ascetic practice globally. Attending a short-term yoga programme will be included in the list of permissible activities under tourist visa. Besides, the government also decided to include short duration medical treatment under Indian systems of medicine in the list of permissible activities under e-tourist visa.
According to a report by World Travel and Tourism Council, India’s travel and tourism economy waspoised to grow 7.5% in 2015 over 2014, exceeding the 6.9% growth that the global forum has predicted for the South Asian region.
In 2014, the industry contributed Rs7.64 trillion and 36.7 million jobs to the Indian economy. By the end of 2015, the travel and tourism sector was expected to contribute Rs8.22 trillion or 7% of India’s gross domestic product (GDP) and 37.4 million jobs — almost 9% of total employment.
So, you get foreign currency inflow, you get tourists, who help in generating employment, and you also get a bit healthier if you practice Yoga. If it is so good for the nation, of course it has to be condemned. How dare Narendra Modi dream of doing anything good for India?
DOWN WITH INTERNATIONAL YOGA DAY! WHY WAKE UP AND MEDITATE WHEN YOU CAN SLEEP IN AND HATE MODI?