The second part.... Yoga exercises contribute to the escalation of Hinduutva outside India

Part: 2

Recently Narendra Modi government introduced compulsory Yoga in Indian Schools.

Surya Namaskar, Sun Salutation or Salute to the Sun, is a practice in yoga as exercise incorporating a flow sequence of some twelve asanas (a body posture, a type of position) linked.

Sun (Surya) is a Hindu God, Yoga lovers may argue ‘saluting Sun not necessary worshipping as God.’ But in Islam is it allowed to ‘salute a Hindu God’ that too in a particular position which is prescribed in Hindu religious practices?

Modi at the mass yoga session on International Day of Yoga 2015 at Rajpath in New Delhi on Sunday. PTI Photo by Manvender Vashist

All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) rejected making Yoga and ‘Surya Namaskar’ compulsory in schools.

AIMPLB formed an action group, Majlis-e-Amal that comprises of four objectives pertaining to activities in school. The objectives are concerned with stopping Hindu practices like Yoga in schools, oppose imposition of other religions in schools, safeguarding the religious freedom of students and ensuring that Sharia law is implemented among Muslims.

“Many Muslim scholars say that yoga is against the fundamental tenets of Islam – to pray to the sun, for example,” said Asaduddin Owaisi, a Muslim member of parliament. “Why make this a nationalist issue? Just because I do not want to do yoga does not mean I am not a patriot.”

All India Muslim Personal Law Board members address a joint press conference

Senior politicians in India constantly assuring that the widespread practice of yoga could bring down soaring levels of sexual violence in the country. Whereas the Part One of this report, presented enough examples of sexual violence among Yoga gurus.

Yoga and Conspiracy Theories

Cultural historian Matthew Remski says yoga stands on three core beliefs which are key to any conspiracy theory: "everything is connected, nothing happens without a reason, and nothing is as it appears."

QAnon group Keeps Making Inroads into New Age Wellness Circles: Photo by Erik Brolin / Unsplash

He argus "If you have trained yourself in these forms of spirituality, you've actually trained yourself in conspiratorial thinking as well."

He also adds "When you have trained yourself to believe that you are self-sufficient, that you are the source of your health… when a public health official advice you to take Covid Vaccination, you’ll reject that call, and it happened in many parts of the world, including India. Yoga institutions and Yoga lovers, openly rejected Corona Virus itself.”

An anti-vaxxer rally in Washington, D.C a QAnon group: Image: RollingStones

A study by the Centre for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH) found that influencers with "anti-vax views" - including those within the yoga community - have gained nearly eight million followers since 2019.

The amount of conspiracy content being shared by online Yoga communities is on the rise. Be it is against health, and other religions.

"Believers of conspiracy theories are in the yoga and wellness world, and they can drive its followers to radicalization," says Cecile Guerin, a researcher at the Institute of Strategic Dialogue.

Yoga and Hindutva (anti-Islam ideology)

Modi's administration, and the BJP party more broadly, has a long history of Islamophobia, caste oppression and land theft.

On Sept. 27, 2014, Modi delivered a speech to the United Nations calling for a new internationally recognized day commemorating yoga.

Narendra Modi speaking at United Nations on Yoga Day declaration | Image: Hindustan Times

Less than three months after this speech, a resolution was passed and the United Nations formally adopted International Day of Yoga for June 21, in recognition of the summer solstice. One hundred and seventy-five nations joined India in cosponsoring the bill — the highest number for any General Assembly resolution. It was also the first time that a U.N. resolution had moved from proposal to implementation in fewer than 90 days.

International Day of Yoga has been described by political analysts as "yoga diplomacy" and as an important exercise in Indian state "soft power."

Pakistani Women take part in a yoga session at Shalimar Garden in Lahore | Image: Money Control, AP Photo/KM Chaudary

Behind the wide publicity of International Yoga Day which is being orchestrated by Narendra Modi government lies the hidden agenda of cultural nationalism of RSS, said AICC member PV Mohan.

This agenda is a conspiracy to undermine the concept of nationalism founded based on secularism and egalitarian values of India. International Yoga Day does not ring truth and honesty in its intent and purpose.

Deploring politics of cultural nationalism being pushed into the Indian society through Yoga.

The wellness craze is a big business in the western world, there is a Hindu wellness craze - food and cosmetics based on ancient Hindu medicine. It's become a multibillion-dollar industry under Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

People participate in a yoga session in New York, United States | Image: Reuters/Andrew Kelly

Modi a Hindu ultranationalist who wants the country's Hindu faith to play a bigger role in politics, public life and even supermarkets.

Evolution of Hindu nationalism – the assertive majoritarian, far-Right Extremism and Terrorism (FRET) ideology that is transforming contemporary India into an intolerant Hindu supremacist country.

International Day of Yoga celebrations held in Washington D.C. | Image: news India Times

Hindu nationalism increasingly permeates into new spaces: organizational, territorial, conceptual, rhetorical, both in India and beyond – which appears simultaneously brazen but concealed, nebulous and mainstreamed, militant yet normalized.

Yoga is helping Hindutva to persuade its dark agenda, the agenda of Genocide of Muslim community.

BJP president Amit Shah, Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani and Yoga guru Baba Ramdev at the GMDC ground in Ahmedabad on Wednesday | Image: PTI

Every civilized Human should reject Yoga. If you value peace, prosperity. If you respect other religions. If you believe in coexistence and development. If you believe in religious freedom. If you believe in human rights… then reject Yoga and crush Narendra Modi’s ambitions, from your countries.

Send a strong message to Modi government that you are not falling for his Yoga bait.

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are those of the original authors and do not necessarily represent or reflect or endorsed by the management, committee, donors or other partners of 12ummah.com

Read Part 1 here