An Indian MP is fighting for compulsory yoga legislation that will affect all of the country’s junior school students, meaning that the traditional techniques could be taught to children from the age of five upwards. The draft version of the law is called the Compulsory Teaching of Yoga in Educational Institutions Act.
Satpal Maharaj, a member of the country’s ruling Congress party who represents the constituency of Garhwal in the Himalayan foothills, said he had decided to push for such legislation as he truly believes it can make a difference. He wants India’s 217,000 junior schools to adopt yoga in their standard physical education programmes. Maharaj said that, during a recent visit to China, he saw school children practising Tai Chi.
He said he believed that India should embrace the traditional art it gave to the world, namely yoga.
While Indian Muslims may end up objecting to the proposal, Maharaj insists that yoga is should not be seen as a Hindu invention, but as having an existence of its own.The draft law also stipulates that schools consisting only of Muslims would not be required to practice yoga.
Maharaj said that newly emerging ailments like computer-related stress had come to India, and that teaching yoga to children would help reduce such ailments in adults. Though both houses in India’s parliament are currently at a standstill over allegations of fraud, the MP is certain that the project will have cross-party support. He said he believed that the best thing to come out of the initiative is teaching children good habits, proper nutrition, discipline, and physical exercise were also essential skills for life. National programmes have also taught yoga to troops in the Indian army, as well as to inmates in the country’s jails.
What do you think about this law? Do you think it would work in the UK?