New Delhi/ United Nations | It was not Saturday night fever, but Yoga fever that gripped many parts of the world today on the eve of the First International Yoga Day tomorrow.
A large number of Indian Missions across the world were today busy imparting last minute touches to the yoga day celebrations. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, side stepping controversies over her help to the cricket czar Lalit Modi, is flying to United States to take part in the IYD scheduled at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi , after holding his wee hours yoga asana at his official residence at 7 Race Course road, will take part in probably the worlds biggest ever open air yoga class at the sprawling Rajpath which wore a festive look today. The entire area has been sanitised for the security purposes. Mr Modi will address the assembly.
Not only Indian cities, but many places across the world buzzed with activities with both pro and anti groups engaged in spirited discussions ranging from benefits of the yogic exercises to tinge of coercion in imposing mandatory participation in the Yoga shows by some over enthusiastic groups. Many at public places were seen lampooning yoga exercises sarcastically, but a multitude vociferously admired the IYD concept and international focus on India.
Almost at every place, people have geared up for the show and holding mats, motley crowd of men, women and children squatted in parks for rehearsals today while the mega show , with possible turnout of over 40,000 people, is set to be held at the Rajpath.
The country today appeared all set to carve out a niche in annals of history on June 21 by holding the biggest-ever open air yoga camp with maximum number of international community members on the Rajpath.
Official machinery is working overtime to impart final touches to the strategy to ensure influx of volunteers at the venue by 0600 hrs sharp irrespective of any hindrance- pre-monsoon showers, security hazards, transportation hiccups or check ups at the entry points.
All eyes will be riveted towards India, basking in the glory of prevailing on the United Nations to celebrate June 21 as World Yoga day, as the international community looks towards New Delhi show following the countrys expertise in the age old science of yoga.
The Prime Minister, in a recent interview to UNI, said it should be matter of pride for all countrymen that India proposed before UN the idea of the International Yoga Day.
The proposal was supported by as many as 177 countries for the first time in the history of UNO (United Nations Organisation) and the resolution was passed within 100 days. Mr Modi, in his first year in office, addressed the 69th session of UNGA on September 27, 2014 and urged the international community to celebrate Yoga day. On December 11, the 193-member UNGA approved the proposal by consensus with a record 177 countries, including 47 Muslim nation co-sponsors, clearing the resolution to establish June 21 as ‘International Yoga Day.’
People in 176 countries are expected to join the session by replicating the movements. Indian Missions abroad are coordinating rehearsals. More than 250 cities across six continents in the world will perform Yoga to mark the first International Yoga Day.
Ms Swaraj has said Indians across 650 districts and 192 out of 193 countries of the globe will take part in Yoga events being planned to celebrate the Day, with Yemen being the only exception because of war situation. Our embassy has been shifted to Dijbouti from Yemen and this is the reason that we have left out only one country.
The Prime Minister will not perform Yoga, Ms Swaraj said, adding that he will make a graceful presence during the function at Rajpath, where the entire stretch from Vijay Chowk to India Gate will turn into a Yoga mat.
The Rashtrapati Bhavan will also commemorate the IYD with officials and family members participating in a mass Yoga event at the RB Club House early in the morning. The event is being organised in collaboration with Moraji Desai National Institute of Yoga.
More than 7,000 copies of coffee table books and 19,000 reference books on Yoga have been sent to Indian Missions abroad. Sources have indicated that about 30,000 volunteers, including disciples of the dozens of Yoga gurus, will descend on the Rajpath lawns to take part in the day.
Tightest ever security paraphernalia has been mounted with air cover by the Indian Air Force to thwart any disruptive design. Security, sources said, will be on lines of the Republic day and Independence day celebrations.
Strict vigil is being mounted at airports, railway stations, bus stations and other crowded areas. Mr Modis entire cabinet is likely to take part in the mega session, expected to be attended by celebrities , school children, politicians, bureaucrats and ‘Aam Aadmi.’
Bollywood personalities, known for their yoga exercises, are expected to take part in the mega show. Teeming multitude of people will do a 35-minute session of 15 Asanas at the Rajpath.
The event has been registered in the Guinness book of records , under the largest yoga demonstration /45000 at a single venue. The record book officials are closely monitoring developments as the event may eclipse previous records participation in such event and biggest assembly in a single yoga class.
The record was held by Kanyakumari-based NGO, the Vivekanand Kendra at Jiwaji University, Gwalior,on November 19,2005. There were 29,973 participants. Guinness Book of records has set a benchmark of 50 nations participation for another record, and authorities feel this feat would be accomplished as close to 45 have already confirmed the participation. Adjuduicators will be present at the site to oversee the turnouts.
According to officials, the ministry of Ayurveda, Yoga and naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy (AYUSH ) is trying to create a record but rules are stringent. The officials say the biggest challenge is to ensure the turnout much before 0600 hrs. Guinness book of records panelists are insistent on the fact that every entry should be bar coded and decoded. The event takes off at 6.45 am for 35 minutes with crisp 15 popular asans .
large LED screens have been put in place to highlight motions of various exercises which include Muktasana, Makarasana, Kapalbhati, Pranayam, and meditation. The Programme starts with Rigveda invocation. Similar events are being organised in various cities in different countries including Beijing, Budapest, Ho Chi Minh City, Hong Kong, Port Louis, Paris, Jakarta, Berlin, Dublin, Tallinn and Bogota.
The IYD ( International Yoga day) has spread across the country and at most of the places, preparations are underway for the day. Even in mofussil places, message is loud and clear to observe the day. Locals in NCR region said they would observe with festive fervour and gaiety with no political strings attached.
Many were of the firm opinion that the government must ensure that no coercive tactics are used for participation in Yoga program me . They linked it with religious sentiments, but people in general have rubbished grotesque comments .
Yoga is an invaluable gift of ancient Indian tradition. It embodies unity of mind and body: throught and action; restraint and fulfilment; harmony between man and nature and a holistic approach to health and well being, Mr Modi told UNGA, setting the tone for the international day proposal.
Yoga is widely considered as an immortal cultural outcome of the Indus Sarsawati Valley civilization dating back to 2700 BC and has proven itself to cater to both material and spiritual uplift of humanity. A number of seals and fossil remains of Indus Sarsawati Valley civilization with yogic motifs and figures performing yoga sadhana suggest the presence of yoga in ancient India.
Indian Navy units located as far as the Mediterranean Sea on the West, the Western Pacific Ocean on the East and the Southern Indian Ocean in the South will participate in observing the occasion and with a unique design!
Widely dispersed ships of the Navy will conduct Yoga sessions that commence at the pre-decided local time of 7:00 AM (the exact time at which the occasion will be observed at Rajpath, New Delhi), such that as the sun moves across time zones in its passage from the Pacific Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea, it will find personnel of the Indian Navy greeting it successively with their asanas across a vast geographical swath.
Army and Air force personnel are talking part in the day in a big way .
The day would be celebrated on a grand scale in the UK with as many as 30 yoga and cultural institutions all over the country participating in the event. The Indian High Commission in London is all braced up for the event which would be held at Bernie-Spain Garden, on South bank of the Thames.
The High Commission is organising the event in collaboration with the British wheel of Yoga, Siyananda Vedanta Centre and the Art of Living Foundation.
Carpets and mats are being rolled out across the world, including in many Muslim countries for the IYD. The event is open to the public.
Reports from London said there was great enthusiasm in the people in UK for the event which is expected to attract a large crowd on the Thames Bank.
Similar enthusiasm is also being seen in the US. Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard has introduced a resolution in the House of Representatives supporting the spirit behind the Yoga. The Resolution also quotes from Mr Modi’s speech at the UN.
Australian High Commissioner Patrick Suckling said here that along with India and the rest of the world, Australians too will celebrate the day.
In Melbourne, Yoga Australia will jointly host with the Indian Consulate the 8th Annual International Yoga Conference on the theme Yoga for Health Physical, Mental, Social and Spiritual.
In Dubai, its citizen Stanley Evan is all set to create a record by surprise. He is attempting the worlds longest headstand on the first International Yoga day.
A demonstration of series of simple yoga postures was the highlight of a media interaction in Warsaw on June 17, in the run-up to International Day of Yoga. The interaction was organised by the IDY Organising Committee of Poland to brief the media on the events planned in Pole Mokotowskie Park in Warsaw on Sunday.
Ms Olga Lasota of the Yoga Association of Poland revealed details of the day-long programme and invited the general public to be part of this excitement.