Against the mad race among certain states declaring Urdu as second official language, Uttarakhand became the first State in the country to declare Sanskrit as second official language. The State Assembly passed a Bill to this effect recently. Now, it is hoped that the much-neglected language would flourish in the State.
It is a well known fact that Sanskrit is a very scientific language and even many words of English have been taken from Sanskrit. Uttarakhand has long association with Sanskrit as many great Sanskrit scholars belong to this region. Kalidasa was born in Uttarakhand at Kavitha and by his writings he not only established his reputation as one of the all time great playwright, but also contributed towards promotion of Sanskrit also as Devvani.
As per the constitutional provisions, Article 345 determines the official language or languages and under the provision of Article 346 and 347 the Legislative Assembly of any State may adopt any of language/languages indicated in the 8th Schedule of the Constitution as its official language. Under the provision contained in the Article 345 of the Constitution Uttarakhand adopted Sanskrit as second official language. It is a well known fact that Article 343 of the Constitution declares Hindi as official language of the Indian Republic. In the case (AIR 1995 (SC 293) of Santosh Kumar and Others Vs Union Ministry of Human Recourse, the Supreme Court too made it clear that study of Sanskrit is not against secularism, rather, the study of Sanskrit is compulsory for the development of Sanskrit language.
Thus, the Uttarakhand Assembly has set an example for other states in the country by declaring Sanskrit as second official language. The Rajbhasha Vidheyak was brought in the Assembly to make Sanskrit as second official language as people of the State have keen interest in the language. They tend to use Sanskrit on special auspicious occasions with extreme regards. There are primary, intermediate, graduate and postgraduate Sanskrit medium schools and colleges also in the State which contribute to spread and learning of Sanskrit. The State government is providing all possible help to these schools and colleges and is trying its best to remove all their problems and obstacles which hinder their progress. That is why the State government decided to make Sanskrit the second official language.
This decision of the government would certainly help in flourishing and promoting Sanskrit in the State. Former RSS Sarsanghachalak Shri KS Sudarshan and many Sanskrit scholars felicitated Dr Nishank in Haridwar for this courageous step. Shri Sudarshan described it a historical and commendable decision. He said the decision is according to the sentiments of the people since so many saints and rishis dwelt and learnt spiritual values through Sanskrit. It is a great irony that in India, 18 states have made Urdu their second official language under the appeasement policy but for the first time the Uttarakhand government took the right decision by declaring Sanskrit the second official language, he said.
Talking to Organiser Chief Minister Dr Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ said the decision has been welcomed with great enthusiasm by the people from all nooks and corners of the State, the country and abroad. “Other states should learn from the decision. They should think of the rich great cultural heritage of India which made Bharat Vishvaguru. I feel all should work for the glorious future of Bharatmata ‘giving up all selfish interests and should declare Sanskrit as second official language of Bharat. Uttarakhand is the school of Sanskrit. It is due to the Sanskrit language that India is respected in the entire world,” he said.
Praising the step taken by Dr Nishank former Chief Minister of Uttarakhand and veteran BJP leader Shri Nityanand Swami described it a historical decision which should be appreciated by all. He said the party had promised it in its election manifesto and it is good that the promise has been materialised.
Uttarakhand Sanskrit Academy is organising different programmes to facilitate the publicity and promotion of Sanskrit in the State. Through many programmes, the Academy is going to establish direct contact with the people of Uttarakhand. One such programme is Sanskrit Natya Yatra. For the first time school children in the State have been selected to undergo a 20-day drama-training programme. The trained students staged dramas at six locations across the State. The play Karnabharam composed by Mahakavi Bhas was staged by them at girls’ inter college at Srinagar. Prior to the performance in Srinagar, the Sanskrit plays were staged in Haridwar, Rishikesh, Bageshwar and Joshimath as part of the Sanskrit Natya Yatra. The Yatra concluded in Chamba. The students were trained by noted Sanskrit drama director Shri Suresh Babu of Sanskrit Department of Kaladi University in Kerala.
In order to elicit a connection between students and Sanskrit in the State the Academy had during
August last year organised different events in all the 95 developmental blocks. These events included Sanskrit plays, group singing, dance, debate, oration and general knowledge competitions. The Academy also initiated efforts aimed at facilitating the provision of Sanskrit Gram status to Bhanataula village in Bageshwar district. The Academy will also put efforts towards it from Kimotha village which has already been accorded the status of Sanskrit Gram in Chamoli district.