Critical Commentary: Debate in India Whether Yoga Should Be Allowed in Schools or Not

Posted on November 11, 2013 by


APTOPIX India Yoga


The article I am going to analyze, on the Huff Post Religion website, is about the debate in India about allowing yoga to remain integrated into the physical education programs of the schools. In New Delhi, school policy says that it is a fundamental part of the program. The issue that is brought up though, is that there are many spots around the city of Hindu nationals. One of the petitioners, Lawyer Jagdish Chander Seth, says there is no religious connection to yoga. Yes yoga means union with God, but there is no religion connected to it. My first impression of this article was that of surprise. It intrigued me when I saw the title because I didn’t think that it would be as big of an issue in India. It definitely attracted my attention, but that is because of the stereotypes many people have for people in the Middle East. The view of the ‘mystic east’ has shaped many people’s beliefs about practices in India. Once I started to delve deeper into the article, I found out that three religions were involve in the debate.

The article may have some influence on it when analyzing the content. In the last paragraph of the article, it gives the demographics of India. There are 1.2 billion people in India. Of that, 80 percent identify as Hindu, 13 percent identify as Muslim, and 2 percent identify and Christian. Hindu people may be portrayed as the “bad guy” in this article because the Christian and Muslim people might feel like they don’t have much of a voice because they are the minority. But that’s just my take on it. I think this source is reliable even though it does seem a little bias. The people that are featured and have quotes in the article are crucial in the debate and part of the court debate as well. There is no author but it must be a reliable, correct article because it is from the Huffington Post Religion site. In the article you can differentiate between the facts and opinions. Opinions are shown in quotations from the people that said them or in reference to the organization that has a certain opinion. Facts are presented as generalizations about what is going on in the debate and what is going on in the court ruling.

Christian and Muslim leaders are opposed to yoga in schools because they believe it has a strong component of faith to it. Hindu’s would like to keep yoga in schools, but they are almost portrayed negatively in the article. The article says, “many Hindu nationals would like to force their way of life on others.” Another part says, “India’s most popular yoga guru Baba Ramdev is accused of promoting Hindu nationalism alongside yoga.” Both of these seem like negative portrayals because of the words “force” and “accuse.” It makes them seem almost criminal. I don’t see a problem with promoting Hindu nationalism alongside yoga as long as the Hindu nationalism aspect of it stays out of the classrooms. This article portrays the Hindu nationals as the “ bad guys.” These two quotes allude to that. When Christians and Muslims are referred to, phrases like “may have reservations against it,” are used and make them seem like the “good guys” because the language is not as violent. The mediator between these two is the government who will make the final ruling on the debate.

Overall this article does represent both sides of the argument, but at the same time they are represented differently: one negatively and the other positively. All of the religions involved in the debate are represented, but again, one in a negative manner. This may be due to the demographics of the area, or who wrote the article. This article definitely grabbed my attention because it surprised me. I conducted more research on it and there are many other sources on the issue, and there are other places around the world having this issue. One of them was here in the U.S in San Diego. It seems like it is an issue on the rise and the debate is sparking conversations around the world.



Author N.A., Yoga As Religion Debate Reaches India As Court Considers Ancient Discipline In Physical Education,Huffington Post, 10/29/13.

Posted in: Uncategorized