It’s 8. 30 in the morning, and the scene inside the GLT Saraswati Bal Mandir School is a world removed from the bustling traffic just outside—a narrow street in South Delhi’s Nehru Nagar. An air of tranquility rests over the morning assembly in the courtyard. A young student lights a lamp in front of three garlanded photographs—Goddess Saraswati, the symbol ‘Om’ and Bharat Mata—murmuring a prayer. Hands clasped, around 100 students standing in lines follow suit, as Vedic chants play loudly in the background.
After a 10-minute long prayer session, they are shepherded into their classes by a teacher in charge of ‘discipline’. “We strive to instil discipline in students,” says principal Bela Mishra. “Because of Covid restrictions, we have pared down assembly to 10 minutes. It usually runs into 20-30 minutes, with shlokas, prayers and stories of historical figures,” adds Mishra, who joined the school in 1991. GLT Saraswati Bal Mandir is among thousands of schools run by Vidya Bharati Akhil Bharatiya Shiksha Sansthan, the educational wing of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.