A new syllabus has been uploaded on the website of the Ayush ministry, set up by the BJP government to promote ayurveda, yoga, naturopathy, unani, siddha and homeopathy.

Ordinarily, that would not matter to any of us. But this time round, Smriti Irani and Narendra Modi's yoga guru, HR Nagendra, have gone and made it mandatory reading for all of us.

Source: b'PM Modi pushed the cause of the International Yoga Day. PIB'

Here's Why:

According to an article in the Hindustan Times, "aspiring physiotherapists will have to study Indian epics and Hindu scriptures as part of their bachelor’s programme under a university syllabus prepared by a panel headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s yoga guru."

The report further adds: "The syllabus approved by the Ayush ministry includes epics such Ramayana and Mahabharata, the religious treatise Bhagavad Gita and Narad Bhakti Sutras, a collection of religious discourses by the mythological sage Narada."

By definition, physical therapy or physiotherapy is a physical medicine and rehabilitation that cures impairments and promotes mobility, function, and quality of life through examination, diagnosis, prognosis, and physical intervention.

And by that definition, knowing yoga might help. But just how exactly is knowing the unproven 'yogic perspective' of Ramayana, Mahabharata, Bhagavad Gita or even the Narad Bhakti Sutras going to help?

Source: b'Baba Ramdev would appreciate this move. PTI'

The syllabus uploaded by Ayush ministry also states that first semester students should be taught, “Brief to Upanishads and yoga in principal Upanishads, yogic perspective of epics; Ramayana, Adhyatma Ramayana and Mahabharata; yogic perspective: Bhagavad Gita, Yoga Vasishtha, Narada Bhakti Sutras”.

Apparently, the Ramayana is the source of many yoga pose names - Hanumanasana (splits), Vasistasana (side plank), Chandrasana (half and full moon), Virasana (hero pose), Tadasana (mountain pose), Garudasana (eagle pose), and many more. But is that the yogic perspective that our physios need and is there any scientific evidence that it works?

KM Annamalai, general secretary of the Indian Association of Physiotherapists, said the syllabus was prepared without consultation with the IAP or any physiotherapists. 

"I am sure yoga would have a lot of therapeutic value. But it must be established with evidence. There is hardly any research connecting the therapeutic value of yoga postures to specific health disorders that require physiotherapy interventions," Annamalai told the Telegraph.

But then again, who needs them if you have PM Modi's yoga guru Nagendra to help you.

The thinking clearly seems to be: 'If he's good enough for the PM, he better be good enough for you too.'

The syllabus would also include learning about Bhakti and Raja Yoga, benefits of Sanskrit chants, hymns, bhajan, satsang, mantra chanting and samadhi. It just keeps getting stranger. Just what is it that we want these people to study?

We are all for studying the epics because of the invaluable perspective they provide, but this seems to be taking saffronisation agenda a bit too far -- it almost seems like we are out to prove the greatness of our epics with no regard for logic. Perhaps some yogic perspective would help the HRD ministry as well.

And that isn't all, the HRD ministry has also asked the University Grants Commission (UGC) to look into the possibility of giving preference in admission to graduate courses in physiotherapy to students who have requisite expertise in yoga.