“Perform Surya Namaskar”: Directive To J&K Colleges Triggers Controversy



'Perform Surya Namaskar': Directive To J&K Colleges Triggers Controversy

The order asks faculty and students to make it a “people-centric program”.


A J&K government order asking faculty and students of all colleges to perform Surya Namaskar on the occasion of Makar Sankranti has triggered a controversy. This is for the first time when students in the Muslim majority region have been asked to participate in Surya Namaskar which many Muslims say is unacceptable and against basic tenets of their faith.

“To mark the holy occasion of Makar Sankranti on 14th January 2022, Government of India has desired that on the occasion a large scale virtual Surya Namaskar be organised under Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav celebrations,” reads an order by Director Colleges, J&K Higher education department.

The order asks faculty and students to make it a people-centric program with the tagline “Surya Namaskar for vitality”. 

“Kindly ensure that all faculty members and students actively participate in this program,” reads the order.

Former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti termed the directive as the government’s “PR misadventure” and the reflection of a “communal mindset”. 

“GOIs PR misadventures aim to demean & collectively humiliate Kashmiris. Forcing students & staff to perform Surya namaskars by issuing orders despite their obvious discomfort with the imposition of something laden with religious connotations gives an insight into their communal mindset,” she said in a tweet.

Umesh Talashi, a National Conference youth leader, asked what will be the reaction if tomorrow a Muslim Chief Minister issues an order asking everyone to observe fast during Ramzan.

“If tomorrow, a Muslim CM issues an executive order that everybody should observe fast on Ramzan, how will that sound for non-muslim community members? Babus should stop imposing religious practices on people, they have no right to interfere in these matters,” he said.

Another leader, Ruhullah Mehdi, said the order issued by Director Colleges reflects the slavery of officials who signed the order. 

“The oppression does not reflect in this order or “desire” as much as the slavery reflects in the pen of the undersigned. 

They told them to bend, the so called “leadership” of Kashmir crawled. But what about the society as a whole? What does the signature in this case reflect?” he tweeted. 

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