Tulsi Ram and Satyendra Yadav, students of Dr Shakuntala Misra National Rehabilitation University in Lucknow, have many things in common. Both are visually impaired since birth and have been selected to do yoga along with Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Ramabai Ambedkar rally ground in Lucknow on June 21.

  • According to a study, about 14.3 million people in India practised yoga in 2013, up from 6.3 million in 2001.
  • As per recent estimates by Assocham, growing health awareness has caused an annual increase of 30-40% in the number of yoga practitioners.

As many as 150 Divyang (physically challenged) students of this varsity are waiting for International Yoga Day, when they will join 50,000 others on the occasion. They have already started practising yoga on the university campus.

“I am delighted to be a part of the PM’s yoga day function. This is a big honour for me. It is an opportunity to prove to the whole world that we are not inferior to others who can see,” said Tulsi Ram, an undergraduate student.

“Physically challenged students of the university are determined to put up an impressive show,” said Satyendra Yadav.

The government of India is celebrating the third International Yoga Day in a big way. With the BJP government in UP, right wing party leaders are leaving no stone unturned to make it a momentous event. The fact that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to take part in the yoga drill here is an indicator.

“At present, 168 Divyang students of the university have enrolled for the purpose. Yoga instructor Vinod Kumar Yadav is giving mild to rigorous training as per need and constraints of these students,” said vice-chancellor Nishith Rai.

“The move is an endeavour to empower and make physically challenged students feel that they too are part of the mainstream society. The idea is to make the students aware of the benefits of yoga,” said Rai.

AP Tiwari, academic advisor to the V-C, said: “It will be heartening to see divyang students performing ‘kapal bharti’ and other breathing exercises with the PM. They are determined to learn the maximum number of yoga asanas (postures).”