Rajasthan minister equates Surya Namaskar to Namaz

Rajasthan's School Education Minister Vasudev Devnani on Tuesday stroked fresh controversy with his remarks that Muslims should not oppose Surya Namaskar as it includes most of the positions that go into offering Namaz.

According to the minister, offering Namaz and doing Surya Namaskar are the same things.

“I do not understand why there is so much opposition to making Surya Namaskar compulsory in schools. Surya Namaskar includes most of the positions needed to offer Namaz. The community should not have any problem in doing Surya Namaskar,” said Devnani.

Devnani said Muslims in Pakistan have started doing Yoga and Surya Namaskar. “They open their fast (Roza) after seeing the moon. So what problem do they have with sun? I feel no one should have any objection in doing Surya Namaskar. All objections are illogical,” he said. 

The minister also said Surya Namaskar is a part of Yoga and keeps mind, body and soul healthy. He said a few people are unnecessarily linking Surya Namaskar to religion. “We are not asking anyone to worship the Sun. Surya Namaskar can be done even in a closed room. It should not be linked to religion,” he said.

Muslim organisations have moved the Rajasthan High Court against making Surya Namaskar compulsory in schools.

Devnani's statements evoked strong response from various Muslim organisations in the state.

“Under which law is the state government compelling us to perform Surya Namaskar? We will not bow our heads to worship the sun,” said Muhammad Iqbal of the Jamaat-e-Islami Hind.

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