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The angry noise behind yoga in India
The practice that fuels harmony and unity of the body and mind is causing the opposite on India's society. - photo by Massarah Mikati
While 35,000 people will be closing their eyes and humming 'Om' in New Delhi for International Yoga Day, thousands of others in India will be angered not calmed by the practice.

In an idea proposed to the United Nations last September, India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi wanted to spread what he called "India's gift" with this global holiday, according to The Guardian.

"Yoga is an invaluable gift of Indias ancient tradition," he said during his proposal. "It embodies unity of mind and body, thought and action, restraint and fulfilment, harmony between man and nature, a holistic approach to health and well-being."

The event is set to take place at the India Gate on Sunday, hosting the largest yoga session in the world with attendees including Modi (a regular yogi), his government and celebrities they hope.

However, the practice that implements "harmony" and "unity" has an opposite effect on India's society.

"Certain clerics in India's minority Muslim community aren't supporters of this event," NPR reported. "They've said the government's push to promote yoga is a bid to promote the Hindu religion that the majority of Indians practice."

The critical clerics say that the sun salutation pose is sinful for worshipping the sun god, whereas Muslims are supposed to only worship a single God.

Despite these criticisms, there are 47 Muslim countries around the world that are sponsoring International Yoga Day, according to India's foreign minister, Sushma Swaraj. Although Swaraj denied accusations that the government is trying to coerce Hinduism, the sun salutation pose was reportedly removed from the routine to protect people with bad backs.

While International Yoga Day is causing an uproar among minority communities in India, Modi is attempting to bridge the gap and settle conflcit between different religious groups in India.

At a launch on Tuesday for the new book "Education of Muslims" hosted in Modi's residence with high commissioners of South Asian countries and envoys from Muslim nations, he broke with his usual practice of meeting solely with community members and clerics, The Times of India reported.

During his speech, Modi praised Islam for its emphasis on the importance of education and India for its heterogeneous religious population.

"We are lucky that we live in a country where people speaking the same language and following a similar culture follow different faiths. This understanding of different perspectives is not possible anywhere else in the world," he said. "If we do not embrace modernity, the world will move ahead and we will be left behind."
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