The Uttar Pradesh government has decided to hold singing competitions based on the Bhagavad Gita in schools across the state, PTI reported on Friday. The winners of these competitions will then participate in a state-level event, officials said.

The Uttar Pradesh Secondary Education Department has asked joint directors of education of all divisions to ensure that the contests are held in all government, government-aided and private schools at the divisional levels between December 11 and 15. The state-level contest will be held on December 28 in Lucknow.

The students’ expenses will be borne by the school authorities, an official told the news agency. A panel of experts in music, Bhagavad Gita, Hindi and Sanskrit, will select the best singer. They are expected to judge the contestants based on their pronunciation and singing skills.

The divisional level competitions will be held at Gorakhpur, Faizabad, Varanasi, Jhansi, Agra, Meerut, Lucknow, Allahabad, Kanpur, Moradabad and Bareilly.

“You have been directed to ensure that a competition, first at the district level, be held and names of three singers/troupe be short-listed and sent so that a similar competition may be held at the divisional level among 12 names on or before December 10,” said a letter written by Anjana Goel, Joint Director (Education) of Bareilly Division, to district education officers of the division, according to The Hindu.

A letter sent originally by the additional chief secretary of the Uttar Pradesh Secondary and Higher Education Department said, “I have received instructions that a singing competition based on Gita Rahasya, a book of commentary on Bhagavad Gita written by Bal Gangadhar Tilak, should be organised.”

The letter added that the winners will be felicitated at an event that would be held in honour of Bal Gangadhar Tilak. However, Goel’s letter did not mention Tilak at all, the English daily reported.