Kerala health minister KK Shylaja’s reportedly sought an explanation from officials concerned for inclusion of the Sanskrit shloka chant in the programme schedule of the International Yoga Day celebrations held at the Central Stadium in Thiruvananthapuram on Tuesday.
While taking part in the Yoga Day celebrations in the capital city, the state health minister had apparently expressed her displeasure over the ‘Eeshwara Prarthana’ that was offered at the beginning of the function.
“Yoga is not part of any religion and it can be practised by one and all. Since our country is secular, we should ensure that Yoga too remains in the secular domain. Before one begins yoga, a believer can offer prayers to his or her own God, and for those who were non-believers, they have their own means to keep their mind focused on the same,” Shylaja said in her address to over 750 yoga participants who had gathered to take part in the function.
After the inaugural ceremony was over, Shylaja had supposedly sought an explanation from the officials who maintained that the programme was organized on the lines of the common yoga protocol issued by the Centre in this regard.
State BJP president Kummanan termed her action as condemnable and wanted to know just whom the minster was trying to appease with her intolerance to prayers being offered. He also went on to urge her to try and comprehend yoga in a holistic manner.
Former Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy too termed the incident as unfortunate while reiterating that any auspicious ceremony was always inaugurated by offering prayers, as this was an integral part of the Indian culture and had nothing to do with whether one was a believer or not, and there was absolutely no need to try and give the whole issue a shade of intolerance.
After a controversy erupted over the same, the minister however dismissed reports that she had sought an explanation from the officials for including the 'shloka' in the programme schedule.