Every year June 21 is celebrated as International Yoga Day. This year too, thousands of people from across the globe marked the day by practicing yoga asanas, a gift of Hinduism to the entire world.
On predictable lines, the celebration of International Yoga Day did not sit well with Congress party leaders, who used the occasion to either undermine the revered cultural practice and attempted to dissociate it with Hinduism or use it to attack their political opponents.
Senior Congress leader and former party president Rahul Gandhi took to Twitter to make a veiled attack against the BJP and PM Modi in the name of International Yoga Day. In a tweet, Gandhi said, “It’s #YogaDay Not #HideBehindYogaDay.”
Rahul Gandhi’s oblique attack against the central government was not lost on social media users. Instead of genuinely wishing people around the world International Yoga Day, he used the occasion to peddle petty political propaganda against the Modi government.
Just like Gandhi, other Congress leaders displayed no compunction in expressing their disdain for Yoga. While the world is celebrating the 7th International Yoga Day, Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi posted a controversial tweet, trying to dissociate Yoga from Hinduism and peddling the same hoary refrain “Yoga is not Hindu” that motivated individuals use to delink Yoga with its Hindu roots.
Singhvi argued in his tweet that chanting Om would not strengthen Yoga and neither would chanting the name of Allah weaken the practice.
Congress mouthpiece National Herald also carried out an assault on Yoga on the International Yoga Day, sermonising that Yoga is not Hindu
Senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor belittled Yoga on the 7th International Yoga Day when he was asked by a Twitter user what his favourite asana is. The Thiruvananthapuram MP shared a graphic of a woman, sitting on a sofa chair and listening to music with her cat. “Sofasana” the caption of the picture said. “This one speaks for me”, Tharoor tweeted.
While this is not the first time that Tharoor had mocked Yoga on Twitter. On National Yoga Day in February 2021, Tharoor had posted a sexually suggestive meme to ridicule Yoga while trying to criticise the Modi government.
The meme was of popular American animated sitcom series The Simpsons where Marge Simpson is shown posing in a ‘Yoga’ pose on all fours and asking her ‘Yoga’ instructor what pose is this called. Her ‘Yoga’ instructor says it is the ‘Indian taxpayer’ pose. Soon, netizens called out his sexually suggestive meme and lack of class while being critical of the government.
Congress leaders playing by the Greta Thunberg toolkit
Congress leaders’ disapproving remarks for Yoga perfectly jibed with the instructions issued in the toolkit released by Swedish protestor Greta Thunberg earlier this year. In February 2021, Thunberg had inadvertently tweeted a ‘toolkit’, a ready reckoner on how to participate in a ‘farmer protest’ in India against the new farm laws. The toolkit revealed a global conspiracy to defame India. One of the points was to defame ‘Yoga’ and ‘Chai’ on international platforms.
The Greta Thunberg toolkit, which was reportedly created and shared widely by Bengaluru-based ‘activist’ Disha Ravi and a lawyer Nikita Jacob for pro-Khalistan organisation Poetic Justice Foundation spoke about defaming Yoga and Chai on international platforms. One of the objectives mentioned in the Greta Toolkit was to “disrupt yoga and chai image of India in general”.
On the 7th International Yoga Day, the tweets from Congress leaders, including senior leader Rahul Gandhi, reveals that the party is playing by the Greta Thunberg toolkit, slandering Yoga to mount an attack against the Modi government.