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Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s hard work to appropriate yoga as India’s sign national export have his Hindu nationalist supporters swelling with dignity, but are leaving minority religious groups feeling sidelined.
An eager expert of the procedure himself, Modi started a new ministry for yoga last year.
He also convinced the United Nations to pronounce June 21 International Day of Yoga.
“Following the number zero this is India’s greatest gift to society,” said Anil Ganeriwala, a joint secretary in the ministry. “It is a representation of our cultural strength.”
The ministry tells yoga is “widely believed as an ‘ everlasting cultural product ‘ of the Indus Saraswati valley civilisations,” which dates back to 2,700 B.C.
“Yoga is part of prehistoric India’s cultural heritage,” said Manmohan Vaidya, who is an RSS presenter. “By praising yoga on a big level we are authenticating our magnificent past.”
Yoga comes at a time of intensified terrors among religious factions that the BJP and its right-wing allies are aiming to change India from a secular nation to a Hindu country.
Fellows of India’s minority groups say to promote yoga is a trick to stir up Hindu pride and sideline the country’s 175 million Muslims.
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