JNU introduces courses on Yoga and Indian culture after much debate

The top decision making body of Jawaharlal Nehru University has finally approved the proposal to introduce short-term course in yoga. The decision in this regard was taken at a meeting of the Academic Council (AC) last month when the International Yoga Day (on 21 June) was being celebrated. This decision came after several rejections and objections raised by a section of students and teachers.

For the first time in October 2015, against the backdrop of a raging controversy over saffronisation of education, JNU proposed to introduce short-term courses on “Indian Culture” and “Yoga”. The courses were proposed to propagate the spiritual and mythological aspects of the country and establish Indian values in the world. After several communications with the University Grants Commission (UGC) and Ministry of HRD, JNU then circulated the proposed draft of the three courses among its various schools and departments to give their feedback.

On the first hand basis in November 2015, the proposal was rejected by the Academic Council (AC) – the university’s statutory decision making body. But then again in the month of May last year the varsity decided to reconsider the same and the departments were asked to rework on the proposed course structure and place it before the council. Again the proposal was rejected in October during the academic council meeting.

A course in Yoga will also be offered with its focus not only on meditation and spirituality but also for good health. The course will be offered part-time and whether or not they will be credit courses is yet to be decided. Details about the school offering them and the duration will also be worked out post the AC approval.

While the course in yoga philosophy has been approved, there is no word yet on the two courses proposed on Indian culture. According to the proposed draft, the course on Indian culture is aimed at expounding the importance of the country’s etymological, social, spiritual, cultural and mythological aspects

The course will contain the texts, thoughts and traditions of different cultures and include things like religious systems in Indian culture among others. Besides, it will have portions from Vedas and selections from “epics and Jatakas” and suggestions on readings of Hindu epics like the Ramayana. “Indian values play a huge role in promoting peace and brotherhood. The course will include a basic study of Indian culture to establish Indian rituals and values in the world and derive ways from these sources to make human life better.


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