The History and Development of Physical Education in India

History of the field of endeavour is the basis of beliefs and experiences of today’s physical education. Now it has become as a source of physical education’s identity.

There are various activities which are not new in the sense that those were practiced in ancient days also. For example, activities of Yoga and Karate are considered to be new in origin, but they have their origins in ancient days also.

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In the ancient days, people in our country used to practice some special kinds of events, like wrestling, kho-kho, lathi etc. In spite of Budha’s prohibition of games, interest of people did not lose from these events.


Thus, it can be said that in India practice of various kinds of physical activities is not new however an important fact is that there are no proofs which can prove the exact date of their origin and name of originators of these activities.

In our country, there is always a tradition of physical activities with minimum use of equipment’s. Earlier also, physical activities were organised in open places and no special kind of equipments were being used.

As we find the well established institutions where knowledge of various physical activities is provided, earlier there were no such kind of institutions, but religious places were used for this purpose.


There were certain particular places where such kind of training was being provided, which were given the name of Vyayam Mandirs. Today, training of various activities is being provided by experts who are known as physical educators or coaches, but earlier, this function was being performed by sages and rishis.

Today, we find very rare class classification in our society, but earlier the whole of the society was divided into various classes on the basis of occupation of people.

Brahmins, Kshatriya, Vaisyas and Sudras were the main class categories into which people were being divided. People were categorized into different categories on the basis of their social status.

There was a kind of social hierarchy in which the person having lower position in the hierarchy was considered inferior to the person having a higher position. Function of imparting education was done by Brahmins.


In those days, knowledge of weapon handling was also provided to the students, because of which it was very necessary for the teachers, i.e., the Brahmins to have a thorough knowledge of handling the weapons. Kshatriyas were the warriors and they were considered the protectors of the country.

By dividing the ancient period into different categories, it will become more easy and convenient to have the historical background of physical education. Before this kind of classification, it is necessary to have some knowledge about the different periods.


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