The ancient Greeks, who planned their life on a total basis, imparted their education in exercise. They realized that a sound mind could only grow up in a sound body. A weak constitution means enfeebled intellect.
It is a good thing that in our country we are gradually realizing this as we regard a exercise as very important. Schools and colleges have been provided with limited facilities for physical culture, and an instructor for the purpose is a compulsory pre-condition for official recognition. The university also is taking greater interest in our physical education. But still very much remains to be done for encouraging sports and games as well as physical culture in academic institutions.
The habit of sitting down in a group at some place and spending the time in useless gossip or in a cinema should have to be stopped. Students should all be forced out into the playgrounds and the exercise.
Nothing is so irritating as to see a bookworm – a print-addict constantly reading books in order to gain prizes and distinctions at examinations. These bookworms should know that the real examination will come after they leave their universities and that mere book-learning will be of little use for them then. Sound health, bodily fitness to work hard and long, will be indispensable for winning success and laurels in life.
Another enemy to physical culture is the cinema and now TV serials. To see a football match or any other outdoor game in progress is not to be discouraged. But playing personally is better. Physical culture means bodybuilding, the harmonious development of all limbs of the body. Physical culture has to be undertaken to develop not one part of the body at the expense of the other. A regular course of training under a competent teacher is all that is necessary.
It is a good idea if the University makes the examination of health a part of its annual examination. A few universities like one at Patiala have made participation in sports and games compulsory. In many other universities sports and games constitute an elective subject for the degree course. Unless a student passes a minimum test in health, he should not be allowed to pass out, however brilliant he may be in academic side. The State should consider this and subsidies a nutritious diet, free of cost. After all, investment in national health is a worthwhile investment.
But greater inspiration comes these days from the athletic meets within a country or outside it. The Olympic or the Asian Games have roused governments from their apathy. In Indian, the different Boards for controlling sports and games are being gradually brought under State control. It is expected that this would promote the physical fitness of our students.