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TRIBILS students organize fest to promote Pali Language among Youngsters

The festival 'Vishwa Pali Gaurav Diwas' is celebrated in the honour of Anagarika Dharmapala whose birth anniversary, which was on September 17

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Alphabet in Pali. Wikimedia
  • Researchers and students of Pali celebrated the ‘Vishwa Pali Gaurav Diwas’ in honour of the ancient language on September 17
  • TRIBILS had earlier created a world record by training over 2,500 students in the basics of Brahmi Lipi
  • The festival aims to inspire and encourage more youngsters and provide free training to those interested

NASHIK, Sept 22, 2016: The city-based Trirashmi Research institute of Buddhism and Indic Languages (TRIBILS) organised a fest in September to spread awareness and encourage youngsters to read the ‘Pali’ language.

The festival ‘Vishwa Pali Gaurav Diwas’ is celebrated in the honour of Anagarika Dharmapala whose birth anniversary, which was on September 17. He was a Sri Lankan Buddhist writer known for the revival of Buddhism in India after it was nearly extinct for several centuries, reported a news portal.

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TRIBILS is associated with central government’s archaeology department and is involved in decoding and representing the stone edicts of the pre-historic era. Atul Bhosekar, TRIBILS President said to TOI that proper awareness and technical knowledge of the Pali language and scriptures will add many unknown chapters in the Indian history.

“According to central government’s department of archaeology, there are over 1.5 lakh stone edicts across the country. Of this, only 50,000 have been read and translated at the present. Many historic documents remain undiscovered because of lack of awareness. We are on a mission to decode these records, but we need more youngsters to learn Pali and join the movement,” Bosekar said to TOI.

He added, Nashik and its neighbouring areas have an ample number of stone edicts dating back to the reign of Ashoka. Earlier, Bhosekar’s students had presented a simplified form of the emperor’s declarations to Thailand’s princess Bajrakitiyabha Mahidol. The relics were discovered in Girnar in Gujarat.

Bajrakitiyabha Mahidol. Wikimedia
Bajrakitiyabha Mahidol. Wikimedia

“After this project, we had taken it on as a mission to decode all 14 rock edicts available in the Girnar area. But, this is just a fraction of a large number of stone edicts available in India. We need more youngsters to join in and learn Pali to bring reveal new chapters of history,” he said.

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According to TOI, TRIBILS had earlier created a world record by training over 2,500 students in the basics of Brahmi Lipi. Apart from this, 250 students are completing graduate and postgraduate education in Pali through the organisation.

In all, 15 students have completed their masters, while 8 have completed MPhil in this language.”The Pali Gaurav Diwas is to remember that the study of this language has great potential. Pali will tell us about India’s real history,” Bhosekar said.

TRIBILS celebrated the Pali Gaurav Diwas with a demonstration of Pali research at B D Bhalekar School on September 18 to inspire and encourage more youngsters to learn this language and provide free coaching to those interested.

– prepared by Anubhuti Gupta of Newsgram. Twitter: @anuB_11

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Move to Make Sanskrit Classes Mandatory Raises Ruckus in Assam

Lawmakers decided to make Sanskrit a compulsory subject until the eighth standard in Assam as a move towards popularizing the language

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Sanskrit Language
Mahabharata Text in Sanskrit Language: Image source: sanskrit.org
  • Lawmakers decided Wednesday to make Sanskrit a compulsory subject until the eighth standard in Assam
  • Within months of sweeping to power in May 2014, the BJP spoke of popularizing Sanskrit
  • Sanskrit, mostly relegated to religious ceremonies, is used by less than 1 percent of Indians

Guwahati, June 25, 2017: A move to make Sanskrit – a language considered holy in Hinduism – a mandatory subject in schools in northeastern Assam state has provoked controversy with critics calling it a “conspiracy” by India’s ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to advance its right-wing ideology.

Lawmakers decided Wednesday to make Sanskrit a compulsory subject until the eighth standard in Assam, which has a population of more than 10 million Muslims or more than 34 percent of the state’s population.

And it is not just Muslim groups protesting this move.

“It is a well-orchestrated conspiracy to micro manage and monitor the education system,” Biraj Talukdar, of the influential Asom Jatiyatabadu Yuba Chatra Parishad (AJYCP) Hindu student body, told BenarNews.

ALSO READ: The Need to Introduce Music Education in our Schools: Why is it Underfunded?

Within months of sweeping to power in May 2014, the BJP spoke of popularizing Sanskrit. It also mandated a Sanskrit week to celebrate the ancient language in thousands of government-run schools nationwide. The move brought about sharp reactions from the Muslim community, which makes up more than 14 percent of the country’s 1.2 billion people.

Sanskrit, mostly relegated to religious ceremonies, is used by less than 1 percent of Indians, according to official figures.

“The decision was taken in haste. The BJP is trying to impose its ideologies, obviously for its own vested interests,” Aminul Islam of the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF), a minority party, told BenarNews.

According to the government, Sanskrit is the “mother of all languages” that encapsulates history, mythology, and science.

“Sanskrit is a powerful Indian language. We want Sanskrit to regain its glory,” BJP lawmaker Keshab Mahanta told BenarNews.

Sanskrit is one of 22 languages that the Constitution mandates the government to preserve out of more than 1,500 languages spoken in India.

The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), BJP’s ideological mentor, said it backed the government’s decision.

“Even in London, they are teaching Sanskrit, in Germany there is a school for Sanskrit. In India, the problem is that a few people are trying to destroy the culture and ethos of Indian civilization. So, they are opposing development of the most scientifically advanced language of the world,” Rakesh Sinha, spokesman for the RSS, told BenarNews.

ALSO READ: If you look carefully at English you will see Sanskrit hidden everywhere: Jeffrey Armstrong

“Language Politics” has been one of BJP’s main thrusts to advance its right-wing ideologies, according to analysts.

“The politics of thrusting Hindi or Sanskrit on a majority of the population with such a diverse nature and language is a pointer toward the fact that BJP wants to create its ideological political hegemony and indoctrinate young minds,” Monirul Hussain, a Guwahati-based political observer told BenarNews.

The most recent 2011 census shows 14,000 people in India responded that Sanskrit is their primary language. Of those, nearly none came from northeast India, Jammu and Kashmir, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Gujarat. (Benar News)