London: Flush with pride at Team GB winning a record number of medals at the ongoing Olympics, Prime Minister David Cameron on Friday claimed that schools were spending two hours on 'Indian dance' rather than on competitive sports, raising hackles among many.

Indian dance - better known here as Bollywood dancing - is growing in Britain, with several workshops and dance classes teaching the steps accompanied by popular Hindi film songs.

Besides its cultural value, Bollywood dance is also seen as an exercise, but contrary to Cameron's remark, there have been few instances of it being taught or performed regularly in schools.

Speaking on television on Friday morning, Cameron said he had scrapped the two-hour target for schools to spend on sports because some youngsters ended up spending two hours performing Indian dance instead of playing sport.

He said: "The trouble we have had with targets up to now, which was two hours a week, is that a lot of schools were meeting that by doing things like Indian dance or whatever, that you and I probably wouldn't think of as sport, so there's a danger of thinking all you need is money and a target.

"If that was the solution we would have solved the problem by now".

Cameron's remarks prompted a wave of online comments by readers who believed that Indian dance was a form of exercise, while some joked how "Team Bollywood GB" would do if Bollywood dance were included in Olympics.

A reader wrote to the Guardian: "Back in the seventies we did county dancing as part of PE in primary school. Indian dancing is quite physical and if it engages some pupils who think running around after a ball is not enjoyable then why not? Cameron's comment just seems racist to me".

Another wrote in: "Cameron is living on a different planet. Any kind of exercise is better than the blobbism we now have. Not everyone wants to do cross-country running, and if girls, or men, want to do Indian dancing ... great. Those Indian dancers look super to me".

"Indian dance or any form of dance would seem to me to be an excellent way of engaging students in physical activity", another reader wrote.


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