Bhopal: Around 50 lakh students across
Madhya Pradesh on Thursday took part in Surya Namaskar ignoring
Opposition protests and fatwa by Muslim clerics even as
Congress leader Digvijay Singh saw nothing wrong in the yogic
exercise and said it should not be equated with religion.
"Nearly 50 lakh students across the state took part in
the Surya Namaskar exercise, which is a record in itself,"
an official said.
Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan led from the front
the event, which is an attempt by the state government to set
a Guinness record of collective performance of the exercise.
The School Education Department had made elaborate
arrangements for ensuring grand presence in the event which is
being organized every year in the state since 2007 on the
occasion of Swami Vivekanand`s birthday.
Digvijay Singh dismissed the claims of the government as
a mere gimmick saying, "There are so many issues like
corruption, malnutrition, people are not getting fertilizers,
electricity but the Madhya Pradesh government wants to make a
world record. It`s just a political gimmick."
He, however, said that the exercise should not be equated
"It is a yoga aasan. It is a form of exercise," he said.
Defending the decision to organise the event, Chouhan
told reporters, "Surya Namaskar is not associated with any
particular religion. It is a yogic exercise having a unique
coordination of mind and body aimed at keeping a person
However, he said the participation was not mandatory.
He also clarified that the exercise was not organised
merely with an aim to get the feat registered in the Guinness
Book of Records.
The minority community heads had strongly opposed the
move and issued "fatwa" directing people not to take part in
the Surya Namaskar exercise.
Opposition Congress termed the move as an attempt to
please the RSS leadership as part of its saffron agenda.
The Isai Mahasangh termed the move "unconstitutional" and
added that they will approach the Guinness authorities asking
them not to include the state-sponsored exercise in its
records as it is aimed at promoting communal discord in the