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All hail Sanskrit – the most perfect language ever

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By Harshmeet Singh

In 2011, Kendriya Vidyalaya Schools (KVS) introduced foreign languages such as Spanish and German in classes 6th to 8th as the third language, replacing Sanskrit. This move was challenged in the Delhi High Court by Sanskrit Shikshak Sangh, which argued that “The action of the respondents (KVS and CBSE) would cause irreparable damage to Sanskrit language and Indian culture and as a result, the next generation would not learn Sanskrit and hardly have any knowledge of Sanskrit and the rich ancient Indian culture.”

While the Delhi HC asked KVS to file a response to the PIL in July 2014, the Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani declared that “teaching of German language as an option to Sanskrit will be discontinued herewith”. However, she didn’t make Sanskrit a compulsory language in schools and stated that German would still be a part of the curriculum as a foreign language. Most of Irani’s critics slammed her for forcing the students to learn Sanskrit which, according to them, is a dead language and doesn’t serve any purpose.

The idea of making it a Sanskrit v/s German affair is flawed in itself when there is enough space to accommodate both the languages. And if there is actually a battle among languages, Sanskrit indeed stands out among the crowd. Our habit of slamming Sanskrit as ‘useless’ and replacing it with something European is in line with our typical affinity towards anything ‘foreign’ at the cost of our own traditions. German was introduced in KVS in 2011 after a MoU was signed with the Goethe Institute of the Max Mueller Bhavan. While many ‘critics’ questioned the Government’s decision to abruptly introduce Sanskrit in place of German in 2014, no on raised an eye brow when the students of Sanskrit were suddenly forced to take up German in 2011 and the Sanskrit teachers were overnight asked to turn into German teachers!

For a language to be taught to the students, it must jell well with the national culture and history. On this ground, German is an outcast in our schools. In comparison, no language played a bigger role in shaping up the Indian history and culture than Sanskrit. Sanskrit’s status as ‘India’s greatest literary language’ is undisputed. Contrary to the popular belief, Sanskrit was much more than a Hindu language. Ancient Indian works in the field of Music, Science and Arts have been discovered written in Sanskrit.

Experts regard Sanskrit as the ‘most scientific human language ever’. Sanskrit is probably the only known language in the world boasting of a context free grammar, which makes sentence formation utterly precise, based on set rules. Panini’s attempt at bringing together all the set rules of Classical Sanskrit is still regarded as one of the most thorough researches undertaken on any language. Many experts have also drawn parallels between the present day computer coding and Panini’s attempt at deriving set rules for classical Sanskrit’s grammar. Our attempts at discarding the ‘most perfect language ever invented’ are a true reflection of our disregard towards Indian traditions.

 

 

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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.

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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Sainik School Model to be Incorporated in Non-Military Schools, suggests Prime Minister’s Office to HRD

The elements of military school training the PMO wants to introduce in regular schools include discipline, physical training and ‘patriotic sentiments’

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Sainik school
Two Army T-55 Tanks dedicated to Sainik School, Korukonda. Wikimedia
  • PMO advised HRD ministry to include elements of a Sainik school in regular school
  • The inclusion of elements will incorporate “holistic development” of students
  • Kendriya Vidyalayas and Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas will have Sainik school like features

July 21, 2017: The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) has advised the HRD Ministry to include elements of a military school in regular schools too. This will incorporate discipline, physical fitness, and patriotism in non-military schools. The PMO has suggested the inclusion of such elements in all schools for “holistic development” of students. According to a report, the meeting on Tuesday, July 18 was called out by the PMO to discuss the proposal with Senior HRD officials.

The idea of introducing military elements in schools was first introduced under the NDA government at a meeting of the Central Advisory Board of Education (highest government advisory body on education) held in October last year. In the meeting, Mahendra Nath Pandey, Minister of state for HRD accentuated the importance of military education for students to promote the idea of patriotism and nationalism, mentioned Indian Express report.

He further adds,  if 2,000 of the 10,000 students at Nalanda University were trained in military education, they would have foiled “Bakhtiyar Khilji’s plan” to plunder and raze the institute.

Sainik Schools were established in 1961 by the then Defence Minister V K Krishna Menon with the purpose of preparing youngsters for the defense services.

Sainik Schools were established in 1961 to prepare youngsters for the defense services. Click To Tweet

The HRD ministry is exploring new ways to introduce Sainik School like features in Kendriya Vidyalayas (KVs) and Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas (JNVs), which are also residential school. The PMO’s suggestion was also discussed with the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE).

ALSO READ: Five boarding schools which teach Army training in India

Students at these residential schools have to join the National Cadet Corps (NCC), undergo rigorous physical training and adopt patriotic lives. The Ministry of Defence directs 25 such schools.

Stressing on the binding need for nationalism and patriotism in CABE meeting, Madhya Pradesh’s education minister also affirmed that more Sainik Schools should be set up by the government.

-Prepared by Staff writer at Newsgram