Referring to the ongoing controversy over chanting of vedic mantras while performing yoga, vice-president Hamid Ansari’s wife Salma Ansari said on Monday that there is nothing wrong in saying ‘Om’.
“Nothing wrong in saying ‘Om’, don’t you say ‘Allah’ or God or ‘Rab’? What is the difference? All must do Yoga. And when we pronounce ‘Om’ we get more oxygen,” Ansari said.
“Opposition to Yoga is totally wrong as chanting ‘Om’ improves health, I would have had few damaged bones if not for Yoga,” she added.
Ansari’s comments come 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.
The chanting of ‘Om’ and vedic mantras has been included in the common protocol – just as was the case last year – for celebrating International Day of Yoga on June 21, triggering a controversy similar to what was witnessed when the event was held earlier.
The Congress however, criticised the BJP-led government for being ‘insensitive’, saying yoga, a great discipline of ancient India, does not belong to the saffron party.
JD(U) termed it as yet another attempt to ‘impose the communal agenda’ on Indian masses.
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.