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Nation participates in mass Suryanamaskar event to mark 150th birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda
In many cities across the country, parallel events of performing 'Suryanamaskar' are being held on Monday, February 18 as part of celebrations to mark 150th birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda. In an event at Chaugan Stadium in Jaipur, thousands of students of various schools and yoga groups are participating. In Rajasthan, the event has remained far from any controversy as it is an optional participation.

In Gujarat, Swami Vivekananda Sardh Shati Samaroh Samiti enlisted participation of several thousand youths in Ahamedabad itself. Surya Namashkar events are also being organised at taluka levels across the state.

However, in Bihar, due to objections by Muslim organisations, the Bihar government on Saturday amended its circular to schools by making the event “optional and voluntary” to allow minority students to stay away from the function, if they wished so.

According to Muslim clerics, Islam does not permit obeisance to any god other than Allah. However, many Muslim leaders were of the view that it was a Yoga exercise not a ritualistic worship of the Sun as a God, therefore, the participation by Muslim children could not termed as an anti-Islamic.

Some days ago, Gopalkrishna Gandhi while paying tributes to Vivekananda said, "Vivekananda was a mystic of mystics. His spiritual intelligence makes him an Indian sage, not a mascot. Vivekananda was a thinker of thinkers. His lively engagement with India’s problems makes him a social philosopher. He must not be reduced to a preacher in ochre."

While cautioning about the way we have started celebrating the anniversaries of leaders, Gandhi cautioned, "Our intellectually anaesthetised, politically conditioned and philosophically unadventurous times need his (Vivekananda’s) gaze and those eyes to startle us into life again."

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