Prime Minister Narendra Modi will lead thousands of Yoga enthusiasts in performing asanas in Uttar Pradesh’s capital, Lucknow.
The stage is set for the third International Yoga Day which will be celebrated on June 21. Started in 2015, after the efforts of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Yoga Day has become an international phenomenon now with people from all around the world participating in it. This year, PM Narendra Modi will lead thousands of Yoga enthusiasts in performing asanas in Uttar Pradesh’s capital, Lucknow.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath will celebrate International Yoga Day 2017 in a yoga session at Ramabai Rally Ground in Lucknow on Wednesday morning.
Yoga is a physical, mental, and spiritual practice attributed mostly to India. The Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his UN address suggested the date of 21 June, as it is the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere and shares special significance in many parts of the world.
International Day of Yoga or commonly and unofficially referred to as Yoga Day, is celebrated annually on 21 June since its inception in 2015. An international day for yoga was declared unanimously by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on 11 December 2014.
The security arrangements kept in place are elaborate with adequate deployment of commandos and para-military forces stationed in and around the event venue. Nearly 400 CCTV surveillance cameras have been put in place for the event’s security. Participants would enter the venue between 2-5 am on Wednesday. The venue will be full of huge LED screens so that the participants can properly carry out the asanas and postures as instructed by the instructors.
Metal scanner and detectors have been installed while dog squads are making the rounds of the ground. The Special Protection Group, responsible for the prime minister’s safety, has carried out multiple rounds of checks and passes to the International Yoga Day event have been issued only after background security checks.
Meanwhile, based on intelligence inputs, 27 student leaders from the Samajwadi Party and the All India Students’ Association have been identified as probable protestors. Police teams carried out three raids in Lucknow, at Mahanagar, Hasanganj and Ashiyana, to place potential troublemakers under preventive detention.
According to the officials of Lucknow district administration, as many as 51,560 Yoga enthusiasts will be performing various Yoga asanas at the Ramabai Ambedkar Maidan. The 80-minute event is scheduled to begin at around 6.30 AM, for which the state government has sent invites to leaders of various political parties, including former chief ministers Akhilesh Yadav (Samajwadi Party) and Mayawati (Bahujan Samaj Party).
Uttar Pradesh Governor Ram Naik and Chief Minister visited the venue to review the preparations. However, the meteorological department has predicted the possibility of rain or thunderstorm on Wednesday.
Besides the Yoga enthusiasts, several dignitaries, politicians and bureaucrats will gather at Lucknow’s Ramabhai Ambedkar Sabha Sthal, where the Yoga rehearsals have been going on for over a month now.
To mark the importance of Yoga which began in India 5,000 years ago Indian missions in the Netherlands, Trinidad and Tobago, and the United States, among other countries, will hold programmes on Yoga with participants from various sections of the society.
In an attempt to make the International Yoga Day programme in Lucknow a success, various organisations, NGOs and Yoga gurus have held camps and practice sessions.
Ahead of the International Yoga Day, the government launched a mobile application on which people can share their experience about participating in yoga activities.
The International Yoga Day will also be celebrated at New Delhi’s Connaught Place from 6 AM to 7:40 AM. During this time, a number of events will be organised by the Ayush Ministry.
Government institutions such as All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) will also hold an event to mark the day with faculty members and students performing Yoga.
To familiarise Yoga with the lives of citizens, the Ayush Ministry had started one month free yoga camp through the Central Council for Research in Yoga and Naturopathy in almost every district of the country. The training programme started on May 21.
Mishra said a sustainable Yoga atmosphere should be created throughout the year by organising Yoga activities even after the International Day of Yoga is over.
The Indian High Commission in Trinidad and Tobago has already announced 12-day activities to mark the International Yoga Day, which includes 108 Surya Namaskars among others.
“Yoga is over 6,000 years old and an invaluable part of Indian ancient tradition,” said High Commissioner Bishwadip Dey.
Similarly the Netherlands and the US also will be holding programmes on June 21. Some of the events have already been conducted. In the Netherlands, the largest ever Yoga event was held with participation of over 1,000 people. The French Embassy in India also announced that it will hold a Yoga and music programme on June 21.
This year’s Yoga Day participants include Patanjali Sansthan, NCC, Dev Sanskriti Sansthan, Art of Living, Brahmakumaris, Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB). Apart from this, nearly 80 foreign participants are also likely to take part in the event.
The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) is the largest of India’s Central Armed Police forces. It functions under the aegis of Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) of the Government of India. The CRPF’s primary role lies in assisting the State/Union Territories in police operations to maintain law and order and counter insurgency.
Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director, World Health Organisation (WHO) South East Asia talked about the importance of Yoga on health. “Beyond the critical importance of physical activity, the International Day of Yoga speaks of another public health imperative: harnessing the full potential of traditional knowledge systems,” she said on the eve of Yoga Day.
The first International Yoga Day function held on June 21, 2015, at Rajpath in the national capital witnessed Narendra Modi performing Yoga along with over 200 million people across the country and over 37,000 people in Delhi alone.
The second edition was held in Chandigarh with the participation of over 30,000 people in the presence of the Prime Minister.
On Thursday, apart from the national capital, every state would organise the International Yoga Day events at all levels.
A 28 day workshop was organised by the CM last month to ensure the success of the event. The inmates lodged in prisons will be included in the Yoga Day celebrations as well. Around 92,000 inmates will do asanas from their prison premises.
Meanwhile, the Ayush ministry has also released a common yoga protocol booklet. The purpose of the protocol is to spread awareness about Yoga and how peace and harmony could be achieved through it. It contains a message by PM Modi and various exercises and teachings of Yoga discipline. It also contains instructions for asanas broken down into steps and simplified with accompanying sketches.