Religious Politics Must Not Colour the Secular Practice of Yoga nor Divide Ranks

Yoga is for all age groups, especially for those who want to get their mind slackened.

Hindi Female

This article has been authored by a member of The Quint. Our membership programme allows those who are not full-time journalists or our regular contributors to get published on The Quint under our exclusive 'Member's Opinion' section, along with ma.ny other benefits. Our membership is open and available to any reader of The Quint. Become a member today and send us your articles on

Yoga is one of the greatest and most extraordinary contributions made by India to the world. Yoga, an exceptional combination of meditation and exercise, is for all age groups, especially for those who want to get their minds slackened.

I, as a proud Indian, am extremely happy for yoga to get recognition from the United Nations and a whole day dedicated to it, which is on 21 June, also known as International Yoga Day. All thanks to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

All well and good. But amid this moment of pride and joy comes a set of religious extremists demanding change in the terminology associated with the practice of yoga – deeming them as 'un-Islamic' owing to heavy Hindu references of 'Om' chanting and 'Surya Namaskar' or salutation to the sun.


Yoga for ‘All’, Religion No Bar

According to Wikipedia, "Yoga is an Indian physical, mental, and spiritual practice or discipline." Yes, it is found in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism, but above all, it is made in India and has later been adopted by different religions. 

Islam may not have adopted yoga but to ask the government to discard a few parts or modify yoga is not fair and unjustified too. India's secular nature allows Hindus and Muslims to co-exist harmoniously and exercise religious freedom.

Missed out on these? One can always refer to the Constitution to double check the provisions. Our government still made some exceptions and tried to accommodate the belief of both sides, as was witnessed in the International Youth Day event on 12 August. But it pains me to see that demarcations are being made on religious grounds. For example, take the ban culture. It is pointless to equate banning animal cruelty (beef ban) with banning an innocuous practice of yoga that means no ill or harm to anyone.

This further reignites the debate if as a nation, we are progressing or going backwards wherein we are required to live with such illogical dogmas.

Bottom line: If you don’t like something that does no harm to you or anyone else, avoid creating a fuss about it. Just don’t burn your bridges by calling for bans. 'Live and let live' – should be the mantra for a peaceful environment.

I sincerely dream of a world with less stupidity and more substance. You should too. Accept, appreciate, and put something as physically, mentally and spiritually wholesome as yoga to good use. Trust me, you'd benefit a lot!


(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

Read Latest News and Breaking News at The Quint, browse for more from my-report and members-opinion

Speaking truth to power requires allies like you.
Become a Member
3 months
12 months
12 months
Check Member Benefits
Read More