Logo of International Yoga Day during a press conference ahead of International Yoga Day in New Delhi on June 9, 2015 AFP

It is ironical that at a time when yoga is increasingly being recognised around the world as an efficacious discipline that aids physical and mental well-being, the ancient Indian system is caught in a needless controversy, mainly due to its aggressive promotion by the Narendra Modi government. It is difficult to avoid the impression that the government is showing excessive zeal as well as a tendency to use its employees and institutions to propagate its own view of culture and tradition. Mobilising staff members and students seems to be this regime’s way of promoting an idea. If it was Good Governance Day last Christmas, it will be International Yoga Day on June 21. It is indeed true that Prime Minister Modi’s address to the United Nations General Assembly in September 2014 provided the platform for the international community to recognise the importance of yoga. In December, the UNGA passed a resolution with the backing of over 170 countries to designate June 21 as International Yoga Day. No doubt, the benefits of yoga ought to be widely disseminated. However, does promoting it require the mobilisation of tens of thousands of people at Rajpath in Delhi for a massive demonstration? There are apprehensions that employees and students would be asked to participate in related events on a Sunday, even though it has not been made mandatory.