The Fourth International Yoga Day was observed with much fanfare across the world but Mumbaikars were unable to participate in it due to their busy schedules. An average Mumbaikar’s life is too hectic as they have to commute for two hours reaching their workplace. In such a scenario, they didn’t find time to participate in the Yoga Day. A holiday was declared for volunteers participating in the function whereas employees working in the private and government organisations had to attend office.
Priyanka Govekar, a Bhandup resident said, “I am working in the private sector; so, I was unable to attend the International Yoga Day function. The government should observe the Yoga Day on the first or second Saturday or any Sunday of June. For creating awareness among the citizens about Yoga, the government can organise health or Yoga camps on weekends. The government should take steps to promote Yoga in every nook and corner of the country.”
The International Yoga Day was observed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the morning at a time when many people are either getting ready to leave for the office while some other have already left for the workplace. Many of them return home at night thereby depriving them of an opportunity to be a part of this event. To make matters worse, no holiday was announced on the occasion of Yoga Day. If the government had declared an official holiday on the International Yoga Day, the maximum number of people could have attended it.
Rahul Sawant, a Mulund resident said, “Who will participate in the event by skipping offices unless the government announces it as a holiday? Celebrities or businessmen can take a day off for observing the Yoga Day but it is difficult for the common man to take leave. There should be a political willingness to create awareness among the citizens about Yoga throughout the year or else the purpose behind celebrating this day won’t be achieved if people simply post comments on the social media. People should focus on eliminating stress. The government can also organise Yoga camps for the citizens.”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had participated in the national event for the International Yoga Day held at Dehradun’s Forest Research Institute. On the occasion, Modi laid emphasis on the significance of Yoga on health. He said “Yoga is India’s gift to the world. It has become one of the most powerful unifying forces in the world. Yoga offers solutions to the problems we face as individuals or in the society. Yoga is beautiful because it is “ancient yet modern”.
Girish Patki, a Badlapur resident said, “What is the Modi government’s contribution towards healthcare services? They are only indulging in publicity campaigns. How will people employed in private sector observe the Yoga Day if the government does not declare a holiday on that day? The government should focus on improving healthcare services instead of observing Yoga Day. The government should organise health and Yoga camp free of cost for citizens. Initially, the Modi government must think about improving governance and then think about observing the Yoga Day.”
While Modi spoke highly about the benefits of Yoga, a common man is grappling with too much stress in his day to day lives. Everyone right from students, office employees and housewives are undergoing severe stress nowadays. Many of them feel isolated and are unable to cope up with depression as they don’t have anyone to speak about their problems. Instead of publicising the Yoga Day, the government could have taken steps to include Yoga in schools and offices. If this initiative is taken, then it will go a long way in alleviating the stress of citizens. People observe the International Yoga Day with much enthusiasm, click selfies and post their photographs on social media but the next day they revert back to their routine activities.”
On the condition of anonymity a Mulund resident said, “If the government wants to observe the International Yoga Day, then they should declare a holiday for it. When citizens celebrate Holi, the government appeals to them to save water. The government is only indulging in a publicity stunt by celebrating Yoga Day as the campaign doesn’t sustain after that.”
Earlier Congress had criticised the International Yoga Day as a mere photo-op event. Congress’s national spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi had stated that it is just an event management exercise by the government. He added that after the Modi government had come to power the Ayush Ministry and several Yoga institutions under them had spent minimal amount allocated to them. In December 2014 the UN General Assembly had adopted an India-led resolution supported by over 175 UN member states and declared June 21 as ‘International Day of Yoga.’