‘Alabama upholds a ban in School citing fears of the practice spreading Hinduism’ is the news headline that reached me this morning. April Fool? Perhaps not, because it is coming from  a real person (in this robo world), Julie Gerstein of Insider.com.

The report adds:

“The practice has been banned in Alabama schools since 1993.”

“Conservative Christian groups say allowing yoga in school would promote Hinduism.”

If it has been banned since 1993, so what is the news today?

Bill AL HB246 was put forth by Alabama state Rep Jeremy Gray, who wrote that bringing yoga back to school would be voluntary. The bill died yesterday in the concerned legislative committee.

Alabama is the only State with such a rule. The text of the ban says “schoool pesonnel shall be prohibited from using any techniques that involve the induction of hypnotic states, guided imagery, meditation or yoga” and additionally banned the use of the word “namaste”.

Read the report further and it starts turning up laughable, to say the least, in the 21st Century, in the land of the ‘brave and free’.

Because yoga is rooted in Hinduism, Eric Johnston, a legal adviser for the Alabama Citizens Action Program, told The New York Times, “it does not need to be taught to small children in public schools.”

“If this bill passes, then instructors will be able to come into classrooms as young as kindergarten and bring these children through guided imagery, which is a spiritual exercise, and it’s outside their parents’ view. And we just believe that this is not appropriate,” Betsy Garrison of the Eagle Forum of Alabama, argued in session

Gray’s proposal still included language seeking to address that. It said that “chanting, mantras, mudras, use of mandalas, and 11 namaste greetings shall be expressly prohibited.”

Poor Guy (Gray). He could not come out whole heartedly in favor of yoga. Or, may be smart. He may have slowly sneaked into. It was  a test dose to 27 year prohibition.

But I would say, thank you, Gray. I am sure there are more than you alone in Alabama who think like people of 49 other States of the United States of America that Yoga is good, even (and perhaps more) at the school level.

Did you underline, in Gray’s Bill,  ‘yoga would be voluntary.’

How can it be voluntary, in the 21st Century, in the land of the free?

There is a huge difference between democracy and mobocracy.

Jai Prakash Narayan (JP), an Indian thought leader, used to often laugh saying “Pade Likhe’ and ‘Likhe Pade’ are not the same.

In simple English, what he used to say that there are two classes of educated. Some are just read what is written (Likhe Pade); others are critical thinkers (Pade Likhe).

I have nothing to learn from 49 other States of the nation.

O’ but it is 21st Century, digital, interconnected world, 24×7.

You may close as many windows and doors, information sneaks into your living room and mind space, and that too through a nice paid subscription.

In English there is a very meaningful phrase, ‘catch them young’. Is it only for the non- English speakers?

The fears of Alabama for yoga and Hinduism tantamount to that only.

There have been reams and reams of paper written about the benefits of yoga and benefits of Hindu way of thought and life.

I am not going to outpour or spill one time more.

Someone so aptly said, you can take a horse to the water, not make him drink.

In such situations you only pray that good sense prevails.

I don’t know by the above I have unintentionally injected the influence of yoga, Hinduism, and Namaste.

I wish to close with the following:

  1. Yoga is knowing your real self. Origin, Sustenance and End of each life. It liberates you of all irrational fears. Is it not good to start early? Voluntarily?
  2. Hinduism is the single oldest, continuing, mother civilization of the world. Please see The Story of India, Episode -1, produced by BBC. It is free of cost available 24×7. Fashions and fades go away. Only logical, scientific, and efficient sustains.
  3. Namaste is I accept, respect, greet and celebrate you as there is no real difference between you and me. We are one. Our origin is same. Our sustenance is same. Our end is same. No one can rationally argue that teaching oneness from the young age is better than introducing diversity and inclusion programs at college and job levels and in business like fair housing laws in real estate industry in USA.
  4. Americans, as of February 2021, perceive many threats (fears). Yoga, Hinduism and Namaste are certainly not there. Please see below an infographics provided by Statista.com.

DISCLAIMER: The author is solely responsible for the views expressed in this article. The author carries the responsibility for citing and/or licensing of images utilized within the text.