As Madhya Pradesh gears up to create a world record today for largest aerobics demonstration (multi location) by holding mass Surya Namaskar on January 12 (which also happens to be Vivekananda Jayanti) across the state, Muslim leaders have equated it with idol worship and issued a fatwa against it.
Meanwhile, state Chief Minister Shiv Raj Singh Chauhan has urged the Muslim community to avoid taking any offense claiming that the ‘Surya Namaskar’ in schools across the state is not mandatory.
At present, the record for largest aerobics demonstration rests with Kazhakistan's multi location aerobic where 48, 45,098 people participated. To break this record, it is necessary that more than 48, 45,098 people participate in Surya Namaskar.
It was a different morning for students in Government schools and colleges and most of the private institutions in Madhya Pradesh. They reached the premises to set a world record to be registered in the Guinness Book of World Records.
The School Education Department claimed around 70 lakh people, including students from more than 6,000 schools in the State took part in the event.
Defying the fatwa issued by some Muslim bodies in Madhya Pradesh, a large number of Muslim students were also seen participating in the record making Surya Namaskar event.
Rajeshwari Rai, a Class VII student of the prestigious Cambridge Higher Secondary School said, “Though it was very cold in the morning, we participated in the Surya Namaskar held in the ground of our school. It was enthusiastic to see our teachers too stretching out with us.”
However, the young girl was not aware that the event was part of any record creating exercise.
Alima Khan, a Class X student of the Government Bab-e-Ali school in the walled city said, “We participated in the Surya Namaskar event held in the school despite it being very cold. As it was a collective exercise we enjoyed it and are happy that we are part of the world record team.”
Abdul Sami, a Class V student of Jawaharlal Nehru School said that while participating in the event, he did not repeat some mantras recited on the occasion, but he enjoyed the stretching exercise.
Sajid Siddiqui of the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI), who was one of the dozen Muslim organisations that had opposed the Surya Namaskar, and brought fatwa against the event, while speaking to The Pioneer, declined to comment over the participation of Muslims students in the event, saying, “We had opposed the event as it was against the Constitution.
Five organisations of Muslims had opposed the event and appealed to the Muslim parents not to send their wards to school on the day.
The event is being held in the schools of Madhya Pradesh for the past four years on the birth anniversary of Swami Vivekanand, but this was the first time when the Government is claiming for world record.
The School Education Department had already intimated the officials of Guinness Book of World Records regarding this exercise. For the purpose, special arrangements were made by installing video cameras in all the campuses where Surya Namaskar was organised. The recording will be sent for review to those who handle the Guinness Book of World Records.
Thursday's event was an effort to break the Kazakhstan's record of holding world’s largest aerobics demonstration. The Guinness Book of World Record in largest aerobics demonstration is with Kazakhstan in which 48, 45,098 people had participated. The event was held on September 27, 2003 simultaneous multi location aerobics display was held, supported by Kazakhstan’s Presidential administration, to promote a healthy lifestyle.
Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan was seen stretching not just himself as a participant, but also a part of the record bid. The signal to begin the Surya Namaskar was given via All India Radio. The enthusiastic Chief Minister was seen stretching out on the occasion, along with others at the local Naveen Higher Secondary School despite the fact that he was recently operated in his left palm. With 15 stitches, bandage was visible in his palm.
Official sources said it could take around a month for the decision of Guinness Book of World Records when Madhya Pradesh could set a new record.
Meanwhile, the Isai Mahasangh (IMS), that had been opposing the event stated that it would approached the Guinness World Records authorities asking them not to include the event, as it promotes communal discord in a multi-religious society. IMS Convener Fr Anand Muttungal told, "We are waiting for the news published in this regard. We would approach the authorities with the news clippings," he added.
MP's Surya Namaskar draws 70 lakh, sets world record Video