Aizawl/Agartala, June 16 (IANS) Mizoram Governor, Lt. Gen. Nirbhay Sharma (retd.) on Thursday suggested that the controversy over yoga should be sorted out by talks and no one should be forced to practice it.
His views came soon after Church bodies asked their members across the Christian-dominated state to refrain from the practice of yoga.
“The argument over yoga should be sorted out through mutual talks and no one should be compelled to practice yoga… it should be practiced willingly,” Sharma told media in the Mizoram capital.
Sharma, who served in the Indian army for more than 40 years in different capacities, said: “I have practiced yoga for over four decades… which I found was extremely good for health, but it did nothing to re-enforce my religious belief.”
“Practicing yoga does not mean conversion to Hinduism,” he said adding that it could become instrumental to curb high incidence of cancer and HIV/AIDS, drug addiction and alcoholism and other social evils.
“Alteration of way of life and exercise could make Mizo youth healthier physically and mentally,” he added.
Recently, the Mizoram Kohhran Hruaitute Committee (MKHC), a conglomerate of 14 major churches, asked all their church members in the state to refrain from the practice of yoga.
“We have served this note to all church members to refrain from the practice of yoga after a meeting of MKHC on June 2,” said Rev. Lalramliana Pachuau, Senior Executive Secretary of the Presbyterian Church’s Mizoram Synod.
Pachuau, one of the key leaders of the MKHC, said in a statement that the churches did not have any protest to the government propagating yoga at the official level as the government is a secular institution.
“The churches regarded yoga as something that can dilute the doctrine of Christianity and asked all the constituent churches of the MKHC to issue messages cautioning their members,” he added.
Meanwhile, in Tripura, the state’s Left Front government said that its Sports, Youth Affairs and Education Departments would jointly observe the International Yoga Day on June 21 all across the state.
“From gram panchayat level to state level, Yoga camp would be organised on June 21. Colourful rallies would also be organised everywhere before staging yoga by school students, security personnel and people from all walks of life,” Sports and Youth Affairs Minister Sahid Chowdhury told reporters in Agartala on Thursday.