New Delhi: Salma Ansari, the wife of Vice President Mohammad Hamid Ansari, said on Monday that there is nothing wrong in saying 'Om' while referring to a bitter controversy over chanting of vedic mantras during the International Yoga Day celebrations in Chandigarh.
Speaking to reporters, Salma Ansari said, ''Nothing wrong in saying 'OM', don't you say 'Allah' or God or 'Rab'? What is the difference.''
The Vice President's wife also said, ''All must do Yoga.''
When her opinion was sought over the controversy related to a central government proposal asking all participants to start the Yoga Day session by chanting of Om and vedic mantras, Salma said, ''Opposition to Yoga is totally wrong.''
''I would have had few damaged bones if not for Yoga,'' she added.
Salma Ansari's comments came in the backdrop of accusations made by the Opposition that the Centre was pushing its 'Hindutva' agenda by asking participants to chant vedic mantras during the Yoga Day event..
Senior politicians like KC Tyagi of Janata Dal United, Sandeep Dikshit of Congress, Vrinda karat of CPI-M and several others had earlier raised objections to the Centre's proposal for chanting ‘Om’ and some Vedic mantras before the 45-minute yoga session to be performed as part of the International Yoga Day.
A common yoga protocol, which was approved and circulated by the Ministry of Ayush, said,"Yogic practice shall start with a prayer or prayerful mood to enhance the benefits of practice.”
The protocol has been prepared by a government-appointed panel of experts for those participating in the International Yoga Day and circulated through government departments, schools, colleges and universities across the country.
In a letter to all heads of higher institutions, the University Grants Commission has asked for their “personal indulgence” to ensure the protocol has been followed during the events held on their respective campuses on June 21.
The mantra to be recited during the session has been taken from the Rigveda. The 45-minute session, to begin with a two-minute prayer, will conclude with the 15-minute meditation or Dhyana session.
However, in view of criticism, Centre had made it clear that chanting ‘Om’ is not compulsory.
Before the meditation, participants are required to take a ‘samkalp’ or a vow: “I commit myself to always be in a balanced state of mind. It is in this state that my highest self-development reaches its greatest possibility. I commit to do my duty to self, family, at work, to society, and to the world, for the promotion of peace, health and harmony.”
This will be followed by chanting of a set of verses from the Upanishad to pray for happiness and peace to one and all.
This year’s International Yoga Day celebrations to be organised by the Department of Ayush will be hosted by Chandigarh, with the Centre deciding to shift the venue from Delhi.