Narendra Modi on Yoga Day Photograph:( PTI )
Amit Shah said it was due to the prime minister's initiatives that yoga has got international recognition and June 21 is now celebrated as the International Day of Yoga.
Crediting Prime Minister Narendra Modi for taking yoga to the world, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said on Friday that the ancient Indian practice has become ambassador of the country's culture around the globe.
Shah praised Modi's efforts towards promoting Yoga and said it was due to the prime minister's initiatives that yoga has got international recognition and June 21 is now celebrated as the International Day of Yoga.
Addressing state-level yoga day celebrations organised by the Haryana government here, Shah said on December 11, 2014, the United Nations General Assembly declared June 21 as the 'International Day of Yoga', months after Prime Minister Modi proposed the idea.
The International Day of Yoga is celebrated annually on June 21 to raise global awareness about the benefits of the ancient Indian practice.
"Modi ji has helped take yoga to the world. It has also helped promote our culture. Yoga today has become ambassador of our culture to the world and has helped attract millions across the world to our culture... It has played a key role in promoting our culture," Shah said.
Without naming anyone, Shah said there are some who point fingers by saying what will be gained by doing yoga for a day.
"I want to humbly tell those pointing fingers that today, on this occasion, in 200 nations crores of people who are doing yoga will help inspire millions of children, who will take a pledge to connect yoga with their life," he said.
He said in the past when India was under foreign rule including by the Britishers, yoga was restricted to saints and seers.
Shah said that later many people made their contributions to promote yoga, but international recognition came only in 2014.
"Several people held different programmes and contributed to revive yoga. But it gained recognition at the world level when country witnessed a big change in 2014 when people decided to elect Narendra Modi as the prime minister. Addressing the UN General Assembly on December 11, 2014, Modi presented our heritage before the world," the Union home minister said.
"Within 70 days of putting the proposal of observing June 21 as Yoga day, 177 countries accepted it. As a result of it, the whole world is celebrating International Yoga Day," he said.
Shah said in western nations and at other places a patent is registered for any invention, but yoga, he added, was India's gift to the world and it was for the welfare and well-being of the entire world.
Shah also expressed gratitude to saints and seers as also to Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and Ramdev for popularising this ancient Indian practice.
Expressing happiness on a large number of people taking to yoga, the home minister said he is surprised to see a gathering of 1 lakh to 1.5 lakh attending early morning yoga camps of Ramdev.
"I want to express gratitude and thank all those who have helped promote yoga and make it as a revolution," he said. He congratulated the Manohar Lal Khattar government for setting up a Yoga Council in the state.
Shah highlighted the benefits of the ancient Indian practice for overall well-being, saying yoga keeps body and mind healthy. Yoga is showing the world the way towards a healthy life, he said. ?
"Yoga is the symbol of India's ancient history and diversity which is showing the world the way towards a healthy life," he tweeted after the event.
Earlier, Chief Minister Khattar touched upon steps taken by the Modi government and his own dispensation for promotion of yoga. He said yoga day celebrations were held at 80 places in Haryana.
On the occasion, Shah, Khattar and others performed various yoga 'asanas' including 'Kapal Bhati', 'Anulom Vilom' and 'Bhramari Pranayama'.
Among others who were present on the occasion included Haryana ministers Anil Vij, Manish Grover, senior BJP leader Anil Jain, BJP MP from Rohtak, Arvind Sharma and state BJP chief Subhash Barala.