For 48-year old Samita Kamble who floated the controversial proposal to make Surya Namaskar and Yoga mandatory in civic-run schools in the city, the day begins with a Surya Namaskar and other Yoga exercises. Confident that there will be no hurdles in starting the exercises in the 1,200-odd Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) schools after her proposal was accepted in the general body meeting of the BMC on Tuesday, BJP corporator Kamble stated that her sole intention was to create a positive impact on the students’ mental and physical health.
Inspired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s initiative to promote yoga, Kamble started performing Surya Namaskar regularly at least two years ago. Realising its benefits, she decided to bring it into the daily schedule of school children as well, she says.
“School children only do it on Yoga Day. If we keep the proposal optional, then everyone will not do it and we want all the students to benefit from it,” she said. In April 2015, the education department had issued a circular to all schools in the city asking them to compulsorily keep the schools open on a Sunday to celebrate International Yoga Day and organise Yoga sessions for students.
Kamble added that she was confident the BMC administration would process the proposal, now approved by the elected body of the BMC. “Our group leader Manoj Kotak and other party members are all supporting the proposal and it is a BJP government. I am thus confident that unlike the many other proposals which have been lying with the state government for a long time, this one will get approved and will be implemented,” she said.
During the discussion in the general body meeting, corporators of Opposition parties had said the civic body should pay more attention to the lack of infrastructure in BMC schools before arranging yoga instructors. Kamble’s response to that is that existing physical education teachers can be trained to teach Surya Namaskar to students and other teachers in the schools. “We don’t have to hire Yoga instructors. We can simply train the PE teachers in municipal schools and appoint teachers in schools that have vacancies,” she said.
Kamble has also been working on extending a Yoga centre located in the Swapna Nagri Udyan in Mulund, the locality from where she is elected. More than 100 people can now be accommodated at the centre. “The work is almost over and will be completed in the next couple of days. Every morning, people of all ages including senior citizens come here to perform Surya Namaskar and I visit the yoga centre once a month as well. We want to motivate more people to do so,” she said.
Kamble added that apart from her, her eight-year-old son, 20-year-old daughter, husband as well as mother-in-law perform the Surya Namaskar with her every morning. “Despite having knee troubles, my mother-in-law does as much as she can. After explaining the benefits of the exercise, my children were also interested and they do it whenever they can as well,” she said. Kamble’s husband is associated with the BJP.