Even as the Rajasthan government is mulling over the idea of introducing surya namaskar and yoga in its schools, teachers’ bodies and sociologists in the state termed it as an infringement of individual freedom.
The government has, in principle, agreed to a proposal given by a committee formed to suggest ways to improve students’ wellbeing, a senior state education department official said on Friday.
A decision will be taken soon, he added. The official, who did not wish to be named, said Rajasthan education minister Vasudev Devnani has called for a meeting of representatives from all teachers’ associations in the state on Saturday to discuss the proposed move.
Devnani is upbeat about the proposal. “Many countries are now opting for yoga for a healthy life. The United Nations has even declared June 21 as World Yoga Day,” he said.
He doesn’t see anything wrong in introducing surya namaskar in school. “It is part of yoga. The 10 asanans activate the body’s nervous system. Introducing yoga in schools will bring positive change students’ health.”
But government teachers are not too excited about the proposed move.
Rajasthan Teachers’ Association (Shekhawat) spokesperson Prakash Mishra said schools already have physical education and moral science classes.
“We have no objection with yoga but bounding a student to chant mantra while doing surya namaskar is violation of an individual’s freedom,” Mishra said. “Praying is a personal choice and cannot be imposed.”
“This will lead to class division. Even saraswati vandna should not be held. The move, if implemented would be against the Constitution, people and education,” he added.
Rajasthan Teacher Association (Rashtriya) Patron Rajnarayan Sharma said the initiative is in the interest of students’ health.
President of All Rajasthan School Teachers’ Union RK Agarwal said that a similar effort was made by Ghanshyam Tiwari, the then education minister in the Vasundhra Raje government in 2003. “He had even proposed that Baba Ramdev would write a textbook on yoga, though it hasn’t happened till date,” Agarwal said.