Indian Embassies and consulates in at least four countries are promoting a rather unusual product: a naturopathy and yogic science course. The surprising thing is, these Embassies that hardly have any updates for visitors to the website, have diligently put up fliers promoting the course in a bid to attract “International students”. And almost all of them have no advertisements or promotions for any other course in any other college in the country.
The websites of Indian Embassies in Greece, Iceland and Cambodia have fliers promoting the Gujarat Ayurved University’s course in Naturopathy and Yogic Science. (We cannot confirm if more embassies have the same).
In the Indian Embassy Greece website the link to the flyer appears among other news items like Gurunanak Jayanti celebrations in November 2015.
Gujarat Aryurved University's flyer was posted on January 13, 2016 over two months after the previous post. The Indian Embassy in Cambodia had tweeted about the course on January 8.
The course is conducted by the Maharishi Patanjali Institute for Yoga Naturopathy Education and Research (MPIYNER) which is a constituent college of the Gujarat Aryurved University. and was introduced only this year.
So why are Indian embassies promoting this course unlike any others? "Well, we are promoting the course in every way we can. Maybe the ICCR is helping us get promoted. We do get foreign students for some of our courses," says Dr Vyas, Vice-Principal of the institute.
It is normal for countries to promote their educational and cultural centres without favour and bias. What is raising eyebrows is that no other Ayurveda or Yoga Center has found its way to Indian embassy portals.
A flier pasted on the premises of the Permanent of Mission of India to the UN (Consulate) in Geneva says the college is offering spot admissions for a Bachelor’s degree in Naturopathy and Yoga Sciences (BNYS) for the first time this year. The same flier has been uploaded onto the websites of all four Embassies.
Picture of the flier at Permanent of Mission of India to the UN (Consulate) in Geneva
The five-year course requires a minimum qualification of having completed the Class 12 and admissions would be “on merit”.
A circular dated January 5, 2015 signed by the Deputy Director General of the Indian Council of Cultural Relations says that the Ayurved University had sent a proposal to the council, which functions under the Ministry of External Affairs.
The circular says: “As requested by the university information on the same is shared with Missions to further disseminate the same among International students. A flyer of the institute is attached for further details.”