Tuesday October 17, 2017
Home Opinion Let’s r...

Let’s revive Sanskrit in correct manner

0
197
Sanskrit

By Harshmeet Singh

“If I was asked what is the greatest treasure which India possesses and what is her greatest heritage, I would answer unhesitatingly that it is the Sanskrit language and literature and all that it contains. This is a magnificent inheritance, and so long as this endures and influences the life of our people, so long will the basic genius of India continue.”

Jawaharlal Nehru (Discovery of India)

The history remembers Thomas Babington Macaulay as the person who introduced ‘English medium education’ in India in 1835. He said that he wanted to turn the Indian high class into “a class of persons Indian in blood and colour, but English in tastes, in opinions, in morals and in intellect”. Close to a couple of centuries later, Macaulay seems to have achieved his goal. His motive behind such a move can be deciphered by one of his other statements. “It is, I believe, no exaggeration to say that all the historical information which has been collected from all the books written in the Sanskrit language is less valuable than what may be found in the most paltry abridgement used at preparatory schools in England”, he said. The same Sanskrit that he discarded has been known as the origin of a number of languages which are in use today.

That Sanskrit is dying a slow death has been a much accepted fact for long now. The stature of Sanskrit started diminishing long before our independence. Post independence, the efforts to revive Sanskrit were confined to “government feeding tubes and oxygen tanks”. Even the first 5 Sahitya Akademi Awards in the field of Sanskrit literature were actually awarded to works based on Sanskrit culture, but written in Hindu and English languages! As the mother of a number of present day Indian languages, the need for Sanskrit’s revival is recognized by all. However, making it compulsory at the school level might not be the ideal way forward. Even in its prime, Sanskrit was never used by the masses. This was essentially why Mahavir and Buddha came up with Prakrit and Pali respectively.

Forcing the masses to use Sanskrit as a tool for communication won’t bring any good. Rather, coming up with specialized Sanskrit excellence centers, offering scholarships to pursue higher education in Sanskrit and translating popular reading material into Sanskrit might just provide the much needed boost to the language. Such steps would also enhance the waning population of Sanskrit language experts in the country.

Ironically, most of the Sanskrit research and translation work today is being undertaken by foreign scholars. In January this year, Germany’s Dr. Annette Schmiedchen was conferred the Padma Shri award for his significant work in relation with his research and teaching of Sanskrit language at many German universities. He himself studied Sanskrit Epigraphy and Indology at Berlin’s Humboldt University. Thailand’s Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn is another well renowned patron of Sanskrit who has promoted the cause of Sanskrit at the world stage.

While forcing Sanskrit down the throat of the public isn’t the best way for its revival, the Government can surely encourage the students to take up the language by making it more rewarding. At least those who are willing should be provided with the resources to learn the language and spread its glory.

Next Story

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?

0
53
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.


NewsGram is a Chicago-based non-profit media organization. We depend upon support from our readers to maintain our objective reporting. Show your support by Donating to NewsGram. Donations to NewsGram are tax-exempt.
Click here- www.newsgram.com/donate 

 

Next Story

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

0
57
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

Next Story

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

0
92
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)