NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said he “wanted to take make yoga an integral part of the lives of the poor” as he led around 30,000 people in performing asanas at a massive event in Jharkhand’s capital Ranchi to mark the fifth International Yoga Day celebrations. “Diseases make a poor person poorer; I want to take yoga from cities to the villages, to the jungles, to the poor and the adivasis (tribals),” PM Modi said, adding “Yoga belongs to everyone and everyone belongs to Yoga.”
Home Minister Amit Shah, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and other top ministers attended events in different parts of the country as part of Yoga Day celebrations. The theme of this Yoga Day is “climate action”.
“Let our motto be – Yoga for peace, harmony and progress,” PM Modi told yoga enthusiasts at the sprawling Prabhat Tara ground in Ranchi, urging people across the world to embrace yoga.
The Prime Minister said the government has been working to make yoga a pillar of preventive healthcare and wellness. Expressing concern that the youth was increasingly becoming vulnerable to heart ailments, the PM said, “Yoga can play a huge role in tackling the issue and hence, this year’s theme is ‘Yoga for Heart’.”
He also stressed on the need to strengthen research on yoga. “Today when the world is accepting yoga, we also have to further research on yoga; we have to unite yoga with fields of medicine, physiotherapy, artificial intelligence,” he said.
Four hundred makeshift toilets, over 200 drinking water kiosks, eight medical teams, 21 ambulances, disaster rescue force personnel and more than 100 CCTV cameras are in place at the venue. Twenty-eight giant screens have been installed for live telecast of the event.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh attended an early morning yoga session at Rajpath in Delhi, along with New Delhi lawmaker Meenakshi Lekhi and a large number of people. Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and East Delhi lawmaker Gautam Gambhir attended a yoga session at the Yamuna Sports Complex in Shahdara.
The Delhi BJP hosted around 300 yoga sessions across the capital, in which about 10 lakh people are expected to participate.
Union Minister Smriti Irani posted pictures of her performing asanas with other participants at an event in Bijwasan in Delhi. Newly-elected Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla participated in an event on the premises of the Parliament House complex.
The UN General Assembly had declared that June 21 would be observed as International Day of Yoga every year in December 2014 based on a request from PM Modi who has led a concerted effort to push yoga into the mainstream as a symbol of India’s soft power in the world.
All Indian missions across the world have been asked to celebrate the International Day of Yoga in a grand manner and a video message from PM Modi has been sent to all embassies for screening at the beginning of the yoga protocol.
Last year, PM Modi had marked the day with an event in Dehradun and was joined across the country by tens of thousands in events held from the valleys of Ladakh to the deck of an aircraft carrier floating off the coast of Andaman and Nicobar islands.