Ever since Prime Minister Narendra Modi has taken the pledge to head the Indian Government he has gained fame for a number of things. He toured other countries, finally responding to Pakistan’s uninvited aggression on our border, and one thing that sets him apart from other Prime Ministers is that he takes on a much-invited passion to even cater to the health of his fellow citizens. I’m sure we all remember when he first made Yoga Day ‘happen,’ on 21’ st of June each year since 2015. The rest of the countries of the United Nations (except for Yemen) followed suit. In his address to the 69th opening of the General Assembly, he proudly told the whole world about this gem of our ancient tradition and how it helps not just our health, but has benefits beyond our bodies, it has spiritual benefits, and even boosts our mental health. Even if people say that they’re in no way traditional or religious, they can’t deny the fact that yoga is beneficial to all, transcending ages and people with different body types.
Similarly, this year’s yoga day, in which the theme was ‘Yoga for health-Yoga at Home,’ it was to make us aware that we can safely boost our immunity to help our bodies fight the deadly coronavirus (of course, since better health means better chances of recovery, because fortunately, the death rate is still low). Now, a BJP leader, Ashwini Upadhyay, wants to take this advent a step further. He has filed a plea in the Supreme Court, under Public Interest Litigation (Article 32 of the Constitution), to appeal to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to broadcast ‘COVID’ yoga protocols two times daily. It is understandable that such an attempt would be made since it can help us battle the tough situation of the pandemic we face today.
So, here are some basic facts about the petition:
- The Petition is written as a writ to mandamus, that is, ‘a writ issued by a superior court commanding the performance of a specified official act or duty.’
- It appeals to the Ministry of AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha, and Homoeopathy) to develop standard yoga protocols to enhance COVID resistance and formulate a ‘National Yoga Policy.’
- It also appeals to the HRD Ministry to develop textbooks for classes 1- 8th on ‘Environment, Health and Yoga Science’ and make it compulsory nationwide.
- As expressed earlier, it appeals to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to broadcast such protocols daily. Also to the Hon’ble Supreme Court to pass such order which they know would help contribute to people’s health as well.
The Petition in its support refers to:
a) Article 21, which expresses the ‘right to life’ in the sense of protection of life, property, and liberty, and forbids any deprivation except in the form of procedure established by law. We know that in a time like today where the pandemic is gaining ground, health gains primary importance for everyone.
b) Article 38, which seeks to secure a social order for the welfare of people, by the utmost efforts of the Government. The social order should have the values of justice, in all social, economic and political forms, in all institutions and also inequalities must be removed in facilities, opportunities, et cetera. The advent of increasing awareness about yoga will certainly benefit society, it is an attempt to promote welfare.
c) Perhaps one of the best supporting statute to the petition is Article 39, of which subclause (b) expresses that the material resources owned by the community must be utilized in such a manner that it is best suited to the utmost welfare of people, are so distributed as to contribute to the common good. Subclause(e) also says that the health of workers and children below the age of work are not abused a very easy thing to happen in capitalism, which is why people in these times are not being forced to work with this certain risk to their lives) and (f), which says that children must be given opportunities and facilities to develop in a healthy manner. What better way to help them during lockdown than to promote their health when they can’t go to their neighborhood playgrounds?
(d) Article 46 refers to the promotion of educational and economic interests of weaker sections of the society, also naming the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes.
(e) Article 47 is also another good support to the petition, which asserts that it is the duty of the State to cater to proper nutritional needs of the citizen, improve their living standard and contribute to the overall public health and also must prohibit the intake of toxic substances like drugs except for medicinal purposes.
(f) Article 51(A) subclause (e) appeals to the citizens to promote harmony and equality amongst all religions and genders, (f) appeals to us to value and preserve the rich heritage of our nation (resonating because yoga is an ancient practice, and believed to be of a ‘Hindu origin,’ but it shouldn’t defer people from other religions to practice it.) Also, subclause (j) asks us to excel in all spheres on activity, for the development of our nation. We are currently fighting through a major challenge with the pandemic, and unity while locked inside our homes is the best way we can combat it. It is not the sole responsibility of our government to fix us, we are ourselves the backbone of our nation.
For your knowledge, here are a few of the many benefits we can obtain while practicing yoga, as mentioned in the petition as well:
1. Integrated Body Function: Yoga as a Sanskrit word translates to: “to join together and direct one’s attention.” Our bodies work much better, resulting in efficient body movements, and our organs get more synchronized for better bodily functions.
2. Improvement in Core Strength: Our core strength has the power to desensitize us to illnesses. We can also heal better.
3. Mind control, the release of emotional blockages, and better moods. It is a miracle cure for depression and anxiety, better than popping pills made in labs. It helps with anger issues as well, and since it also helps in mind control, we are able to respond to situations rather than react.
4. It is a great aid to our young students, as it helps in concentration, better memory, and hence, better academic performance. The calming effect will also help in exam stress.
5. Managing a healthy weight: with the city culture and fast food lifestyle our young generation has started to follow (although it is also not recommended to eat unhealthy too often), obesity is now a rising problem. Yoga can help manage a healthy weight but also help us internally as we start to have a better self-image. Cholesterol is reduced, reducing the chances of heart-related diseases.