Leading at least 30,000 yoga enthusiasts, Prime Minister Narendra Modi participated in a mass session of exercise and meditation at Ranchi's Prabhat Tara ground in Jharkhand on Friday, June 21. June 21 marks the fifth International Yoga Day.
Taking part in similar events are several Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders, union ministers and top government officials throughout the country.
Addressing the crowd in Ranchi, PM Modi said that Yoga is an ancient practice that goes beyond age, colour, caste and creed and belongs to everyone. "Yoga is discipline, dedication, and it has to be followed throughout your life. Yoga is beyond the distinction of age, colour, caste, creed, cult, rich-poor, province, and frontier. Yoga belongs to everyone and everyone belongs to yoga," he said.
The United Nations declared June 21 as International Day for Yoga on December 11, 2014, at the recommendation of PM Modi. Modi wanted it to be on this particular day since it is the Summer Solstice and the longest day in the year.
The idea was first introduced in the United Nations General Assembly by Indian Ambassador to UN Asoke Mukerji and 177 nations unanimously agreed to it, joining as co-sponsors. This is the highest number of countries agreeing to a resolution in the UNGA.
The first Yoga Day celebration was held at Raj Path in New Delhi. PM Modi and other dignitaries performed around 21 yoga asanas and created two Guinness World Records. The theme for the International Yoga Day 2019 is Climate Action.
Highlights from the Yoga Day event:
- Ranchi was chosen as the venue: "I am in Ranchi as the city has a lot of forests and is near to nature and there is a close relationship between Yoga and Nature," said PM Modi, after greeting people in the local language.
- Want to make Yoga an integral part of lives of all the poor people: "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)," said PM Modi in his address to the crowd in Ranchi. "It is the poor who suffer the most due to illness. Yoga will help the poor take care of their health," he added.
- Yoga belongs to everyone and everyone belongs to yoga: "Today, we can say that awareness of yoga in India has reached every corner, to every section. Drawing rooms to board rooms, from cities and parks to sports complexes, yoga can be experienced today from street to wellness centres," PM Modi said.
- Research on yoga needs to be strengthened: "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.
- "Yoga provides a perfect blend of knowledge, work and devotion," said PM Modi at the event, where Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das and various other ministers were also present.
- 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. "I urge everyone to make Yoga an integral part of their lives," said Union Minister Rajnath Singh on Twitter.
- Union Home Minister Amit Shah attended an event in Rohtak, Haryana, and performed Yoga along with the Chief Minister of the state ML Khattar. "The knowledge of yoga is for the welfare of the whole world. On International Yoga Day, I express my great gratitude to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for giving a global form to Yoga," said Amit Shah, addressing the crowd at Rohtak.
- Union Minister Nitin Gadkari led International Yoga day celebration in Maharashtra's Nagpur.
- Indian Army also took part in Yoga day celebrations, by performing Yoga at various locations.
5th #InternationalYogDay— ADG PI - INDIAN ARMY (@adgpi) June 21, 2019
Our fit & fearless soldiers #IndianArmy practice #Yoga on the icy heights of #HimalayanRanges. We are committed for having healthy & fit India.#NationFirst #YogaDay2019 #IDY2019#AYUSH#ZindagiRaheKhush#योगदिवस#अन्तर्राष्ट्रीययोगदिवस pic.twitter.com/iSvpbeTycr
- Delhi BJP is hosting around 300 yoga sessions across the capital: The state chief of BJP Manoj Tiwari said that around 10 lakh people are expected to participate in 300 yoga sessions across the city. "Senior BJP leaders and union ministers will take part in 40 big events on International Yoga Day," he added.