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Famous Indologist Jaroslav Vacek airlifted to Prague

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Kozhikode: World famous Czech Indologist Professor Jaroslav Vacek who had suffered a head injury and was in the hospital for over a month was airlifted to Prague today.

72-year-old Indologist had come to Calicut to give a lecture on 2nd January but suffered a head injury when he collapsed and since then he was in the hospital. The lecture was organised by the Calicut Universty to inaugurate the International Sanskrit Conference.

The winner of Presidential Medal for his love of classical Indian languages Sanskrit and Tamil is a renowned Indologist.

He is the director of the Institute for South and Central Asia at Charles University in Prague. He is credited to be the first person to translate the Bhagavad Gita to the Czech language.

Since the fall, he has not spoken and been in critical condition. Students and scholars all around the world have been praying for his improvement.

“He is a great scholar in the field of Indological studies. Vacek is fluent in Sanskrit and Tamil and is a mentor to several Indologists in Europe. He loved Kozhikode and we are glad that we could save his life though complete recovery would take time,” said Sanskrit scholar C Rajendran who had been overseeing the professor’s treatment in Kozhikode.

Vacek had gone to the city hospital to consult about fever and there he collapsed.”Internal bleeding in his head necessitated an emergency brain surgery. While recuperating he developed pneumonia and was put on the ventilator,” Rajendran said.

Vacek is known for the success he achieved with his translation of Gita from Sanskrit to Czech with the selling of more than 25,000 copies within a week of its release.
He has worked for the Sanskrit language for more than fifty years of his life. (Inputs from agencies)(Image-worldpeacecouncil.net)

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EXCLUSIVE: Vishwanath Sanskrit Vidyalaya in Delhi is trying to keep the Cultural Roots Alive in Students through Sanskrit Language

What makes this Sanskrit School different from others?

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Chintamanni Vedpathi with students
Chintamanni Vedpathi with students. Youtube
  • Vishwanath Sanskrit Vidyalaya  is one of the oldest Sanskrit Institutions in Delhi
  • Students wear white dhoti and shirt, they greet their guru or teacher by clasping their hands together
  • The Sri Vishwanath Sanyas Ashram takes care of the student’s  food by providing them with free food and they also stay in hostel free of cost  

New Delhi, August 30, 2017: There is a school in Delhi away from the overdose of technology and westernization. This school is trying to strengthen the roots of Indian culture by giving the gyan (knowledge) of Sanskrit to their students.

Reporter Kritika Dua got in touch with the teachers of Vishwanath Sanskrit Vidyalaya– Jai Prakash Mishra and Rajendra Sharma to know what is so special about this Delhi-based School. To get the taste of the pattern that this school follows, she spoke with students- Virender Tiwari and Pushpendra Chaturvedi who shared some interesting anecdotes about the school.

This Sanskrit Vidyalaya is one of the oldest Sanskrit Institutions in Delhi, where classes begin at 11 am and end at 4.10 p.m. The school has produced many Sanskrit scholars in the past and it is run by Sri Vishwanath Sanyas Ashram, which is located just opposite to the school.

On entering the classroom, you can see students wearing white dhoti and shirt, students greet their guru or teacher by clasping their hands together and sit on the carpeted floor while learning at the Vidyalaya.

One of the teachers at this school, Jai Prakash Mishra said, “around 55-60 students stay in the hostel, rest of them come from other areas in Delhi to study here. The ones who stay in hostel come from different states like Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, and Rajasthan.”

Entrance of Vishwanath Sanskrit Vidyalaya, Delhi.
Entrance of Vishwanath Sanskrit Vidyalaya, Delhi

Students having interest in learning the ancient language of India are welcome in this school, no matter which part of the country they belong to. The only requirement is to be a good shisya (pupil) – he should be serious towards education, ready to lead a disciplined life and should be hard-working.

Mishra added, “the Sri Vishwanath Sanyas Ashram takes care of the student’s  food by providing them with free food and they also stay in hostel free of cost.” There are 10 teachers currently in this school.

Volleyball Court in School Playground
Volleyball Court in School Playground

The students play Volleyball and Cricket in the school playground though there is no sports teacher in the school. Rajendra Sharma, Hindi teacher said, “The students here can get the education -9th class and 10th class called purva madhyama, 11th and 12th called uttar madhyama, till graduation called Shastri though they get a post-graduation degree from the school. The degree they get is from Sampurnanand Sanskrit Vishwavidyalaya (SSVV), Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh as the school is affiliated with this university.”

The School teaches other subjects apart from Sanskrit like Hindi, history, science, English literature, English Grammar, law etc.  Sharma told about his expectations from the students, “Our students are preserving Indian Culture by learning Sanskrit. I wish that they have a bright future ahead.”

ALSO READ: Move to Make Sanskrit Classes Mandatory Raises Ruckus in Assam

The students of this all boy’s school have short cropped hair which is sometimes shaven heads with tufts of hair at the back. They are rooted in Indian culture which can be seen through their behavior, good manners, dressing and talking sense.

Rahul Shukla, a 9th class student said that he can recite shlokas perfectly and wants to be a Shastri when he grows up. Vishwanath Sanskrit Vidyalaya has branches in Haridwar, Varanasi, Shimla, Kolkata, Mount Abu, and Bikaner.

Virender Tiwari (19) is pursuing graduation from this school and here the B.A first year course is called Shastriya Pratham, and he will become a Shastri after he completes his graduation. Tiwari said, “my experience has been extremely enriching in this school so far, all the knowledge I have of Sanskrit is because of what I have been taught here.”

Pushpendra Chaturvedi completed his graduation last year, now he lives in Dilshad Garden and is a priest in a temple. Pushpendra said, “I came to this school in the 9th standard, this school did a lot for me and I have fond memories of this place. I want to pursue B.ED and become a Sanskrit teacher.”

He talked about the ex-principal of the school, Ram Sarmukh Dwivedi, 95 years old Mahatma. He was a Sanskrit  Scholar and had in depth knowledge of Sanskrit language, literature, and ‘Ved Puran’. The current Principal of this unique Sanskrit school is Dr. Brahmachari Balram.


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Tamil Nadu Schools make Singing Vande Mataram Mandatory

The Madras court has announced that all schools throughout Tamil Nadu must make the singing of Vande Mataram mandatory

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Vande Mataram Mandatory
Students are to sing the national song twice as per the Madras High Court ruling. Wikimedia
  • Singing Vande Mataram is now mandatory in every school of Tamil Nadu after Madras high court announced its ruling
  • The students are to sing the national song twice every week
  • Given a valid reason, an individual or group may be exempted from the decision

July 29, 2017: Tamil Nadu school students are now compelled to sing Vande Mataram as per the Madras High Court’s recent ruling. The national song is to be sung twice a week.

Private as well as government schools have been instructed to comply with the ruling and confirm that it is implemented in their schools.

ALSO READ: First Clap: Short Film Fest to Unearth Budding Filmmakers from Tamil Nadu

The Madras Court’s ruling was the result of a petition filed by K Veeramani. Mr. Veeramani, interestingly, was unsuccessful in clearing the written test in the process of recruiting teachers because of a question related to the National song, mentioned PTI.

In an objective type question, K Veeramani selected Bengali as the original language in which national song was written. This answer was considered wrong by the board. Veeramani scored 89 while the cut off was 90. For this one mark and “wrongfully” missing the opportunity to work, he petitioned to the High Court.

And he was right. Advocate General R Muthukumarswamy agreed to K Veeramani’s claim. The National Song was originally penned in the Bengali Language.

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PTI reports Justice M V Muralidharan gave no actual reasons behind this verdict. The Justice also said that Monday and Friday should be the ideal days.

Justice M V Muralidharan’s ruling is backed by Article 226 of the constitution; The High court posses the power to pass orders within their juridicial territory upon any individual or group. The Judge also stated, “If people feel it is difficult to sing the song in Bengali or in Sanskrit, steps can be taken to translate the song in Tamil. The youth of this country are the future of tomorrow and the court hopes and trusts that this order shall be taken in the right spirit and also implemented in letter and spirit by the citizenry of this great nation.”

– prepared by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter: @Saksham2394

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Plans of Resurrection of Jews Cemetery in Czech Republic opposed by Locals

The US foundation represented by Mr.Jelinek has proposed to demarcate the old cemetery with a knee-high hedge and place some of the recovered tombstones there

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Jews Cemetery in Czech Republic
Jew Cemetery in ruins in Czech Republic.VOA
  • Jew community in Prague, Republic of Czech has been trying to revive its history
  • The community wants to resurrect its cemetery which has met with strong opposition
  • The former head of Jew community in Prague has been trying hard to restore the broken headstones to ensure the town remembers its Jewish past

Prague, Czech Republic, June 15, 2017: The Czech Republic- a nation state in the European continent is home to many ethnic groups including Germans, Romani, Poles and Hungarians from the neighboring nations. Jews have also been an integral part of the ethnic composition of Czech Republic.

On January 1, 1993, Czechoslovakia ceased to exist as a separate entity and its territory became two independent nations, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. The Jewish communities of the various regions hence differed substantially in their demographic, economic, and cultural aspects, with influences of assimilation to the Czech and German cultures prevailing in the West. However, constant conflicts with the Czech community led to the emigration and escape of Jews from the nation (specifically after Munich Conference and German occupancy).

Since then, the Jew population in the nation has been on a fall. It also seems like that Czech Republic may be trying to bury its Jewish history. One can tell so by the poor state of the important structures related with Jews which have now been converted into ruins. But the Jews still living in the country are making efforts to revive their history in the nation.

According to a leading news site, Mr.Tomas Jelinek, the former head of Jew community in Prague, has been trying hard to restore the broken headstones to ensure the town remembers its Jewish past. Mr.Jelinek has recovered 34 headstones in and around Prostejov till date.

He said that every few months, he receives a call from someone from Prostejov telling him that a stone has been found with Hebrew writing.

ALSO READ: Kashmiri Pandits should be given Minority Community Tag: NCM Chief Gairul Hasan Rizvi

Talking to the leading news site, he said “Prostejov had a very bad history in the relationship to the Jews. It was famous for its anti-Semitism in the 19th Century. And it’s still in the population. You can hear it on the street, and you can also see that they just reinvent things which people thought would disappear for ever after the Second World War.”

Prostejov had been an important Jewish centre till 1942 when this history was brought to an abrupt end by Nazi occupancy. In 1943, the town’s Jew cemetery was bought by the town’s mayor and good quality marble was sold in the market leaving the place to be the Czech Republic ground.

Now, it is a small park, bordered by houses and a school. But 74 years after its desecration, plans to rehabilitate it have caused an uproar.

The US foundation represented by Mr.Jelinek has proposed to demarcate the old cemetery with a knee-high hedge and place some of the recovered tombstones there. However, the proposal has led to an uproar of opposition with a petition signed by 3,000 locals. As a result, the town council has withdrawn its support.

“Most of the people who signed the petition live opposite the park or are parents of kids who go to the school. So most people who signed the petition against it actually live there.” Said deputy mayor Zdenek Fiser.

He also dismissed the claims made by Jelinek that Prostejov was a hotbed of anti-Semitism (Antisemitism is hostility, prejudice, or discrimination directed against Jews as a group). He further added, “You’re asking me about anti-Semitic articles in the local press, but we didn’t write those articles, did we? As you well know, journalists need controversy, a ’cause celebre’, to make their articles interesting. If they’d just written about plans to turn a local park into a place of remembrance, no-one would be interested. But put ‘anti-Semitism’ in the headline, and all of a sudden everyone’s up in arms.”

For now, the newly discovered Bernhard Herlitzka’s tombstone is being stored with the rest at Prostejov’s New Jewish Cemetery, a short drive out of town. The town council and the foundation are still to concur over what to do with the tombstones which is going to take some time, considering the atmosphere.

– prepared by Nikita Tayal of NewsGram. Twitter: @NikitaTayal6