Intro: Sanskrit language can establish the unity in the country but with the passage of time so-called secularists in our country have created myths against Sanskrit in order to stop it’s propagation.
Greatest Indian mind once said, “Sanskrit flows through our blood. It is only Sanskrit that can establish the unity of the country,” and greatest Indian none other than the Nobel Laureate Physicist, Dr CV Raman. But with the passage of time people who controls ideological air of the country seems to forget the great language as well as greatest people who endorsed it. Myth had been manufactured against Sanskrit in order to stop it’s propagation at least through state help. Let us explore various myths surrounding it.
Myth: Teaching Sanskrit is against the Secular fabric of Country
It was hoax created by Marxist Historian supported by Secularist who follow Congress brand of Secularism. Spreading Sanskrit hurts their party agenda as it connects Indian to its cultural heritage. Congress connects Sanskrit issue with religion and tries to score some brownie points in the form of votes, as they follow “Divide and Rule” rather than true Secularism.
How Sanskrit will destroy the Secular Fabric of Country?
If we go deep into this issue we will find that it was Naziruddin Ahmad who demanded Sanskrit as National Language during constituent’s assembly debate held on Monday, the 12th September 1949 and supported by Dr Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar. Naziruddin Ahmed, a Muslim League member (emphasis added) who said, “I offer you a language which is the grandest and the greatest, and it is impartially difficult, equally difficult for all to learn.” Though Nehru opposed it as National language of India, on other hand member of Muslim league supported it with strong voice.
During 21st century, in the world of internet it is Syed Muzammiluddin the experienced wikipedian who is working very hard to create a league of Sanskrit knowledge, let me quote cite plan “Create more involvement of Sanskrit teaching fraternity in the Sanskrit Wikimedia Projects”.
- Create more involvement of Sanskrit teaching fraternity in the Sanskrit Wikimedia Projects.
- Assign online Sanskrit Wikimedia Projects for students.
- Involve masters and doctoral students in the Sanskrit Wikimedia Projects.
- Promote organisational involvement in digitization of literature on Sanskrit Wikisource.
Myth: Teaching Sanskrit is Religious
How is it possible? Secularist Lobby always connects Sanskrit with Hinduism. Yes I agreed that, the Foundation Indian cultural Dharma based upon Sanskrit. But literature which is related to Pooja-Vidhi say Chanting Matras is less than 5%, 95% of Sanskrit literature has nothing to do with Pooja-Vidhi Mantras. Please don’t confuse Dharma with Religion and Pooja Vidhi. Being a Bharatiye we should stop pouncing Dharma as religion.
Sanskrit never was a religious language as per the Sanskrit Commission appointed by government of India, under Resolution No. F34-1/56-A-1, dated the October 1, 1956. Let us look at highlights of “The Report of the Sanskrit Commission.”
- It has been wrongly averred that the study of Sanskrit is only sacerdotal, and is mainly confined to the various ideologies, institutions, cults and practices of orthodox Hindu religion.
- It must, however, be pointed out in this connection that all literature in Sanskrit can by no means be said to be purely religious or sectarian in character.
- As indicated elsewhere in this Chapter, there is in Sanskrit a considerable amount of technical, scientific and secular literature.
- Works on polity like the Arthasastra of Kautilya or on architecture like the Manasara, the Samarangana-sutradhara and the Aparajitaprccha, as also many other treatises relating to the Kalas, can certainly not be characterised as religious.
- We must also not forget, in this context, the pure literature embodied in the various types of Sanskrit drama and poetry.
- It must be further pointed out that the large mass of literature in Sanskrit was not produced by any particular community.
- Several instances can be quoted of non-Brahman and non-Hindu authors who have made significant contributions to Sanskrit literature.
- It is definitely wrong to assume that Sanskrit represents only the religious literature of the Hindus.
In the landmark decision of Supreme Court of India in “Santosh Kumar and others vs The Secretary, Ministry Of Human on October 4, 1994. The Court said that “a secular state is not hostile to religion but holds itself neutral in matters of religion” (para 16). Honorable Supreme Court clearly said that teaching Sanskrit neither Religious nor against the Principle of Secularism. Paragraphs 19 and 20 of the judgment clearly validate the supreme court of India decision in the case.
19. Form what has been stated above, we entertain no doubt in our mind that teaching of Sanskrit alone as an elective subject can in no way we regarded as against secularism. Indeed, our Constitution requires giving of fillip to Sanskrit because of what has been stated in Article 351, in which while dealing with the duty of the Union to promote the spread of Hindi it has been provided that it would draw, whenever necessary or desirable, for its vocabulary, primarily on Sanskrit. Encouragement to Sanskrit is also necessary because of it being one of the languages included in the Eighth Schedule.
20. We, therefore, conclude by saying that in view of importance of Sanskrit for nurturing our cultural heritage, because of which even the official education policy has highlighted the need of study of Sanskrit, making of Sanskrit alone as an elective subject, while not conceding this status to Arabic and/or Persian, would not in any way militate against the basic tenet of secularism. There is thus no merit in the first objection raised by the Board.
Honorable Allahabad Court during Judgment in the case of “Ramesh Upadhya and another vs State of UP and others, (1993) 2 UPLBEC 945”, reflected it’s thought on Sanskrit.
9. The high development of the Sanskrit language was not accidental. It took place because a vehicle of expressing highly abstract, subtle and profound thoughts was required to fulfil the intellectual needs of the educated people in India. As is well known, our ancestors were highly intelligent, and they questioned everything (like the ancient Greeks). Mathematics, Physics, Literature, Philosophy, Law etc. became highly developed in our country, and hence a correspondingly highly developed and powerful vehicle of expression was required to communicate words or thoughts with elegance, precision and exactitude. Hence the crude Sanskrit of the Vedic Literature was refined and systematised by Panini and Patanjali who made it perhaps the most highly developed of all the languages of the world.
Myth: Sanskrit suitability for Computer is dead after 1986
AI Magazine during 1985 published a paper titled, “Knowledge Representation in Sanskrit and Artificial Intelligence” authored by Rick Briggs, researcher NASA Ames Research Center. In today tech savvy world as soon as Rick Briggs paper caught attention, anti-Sanskrit lobby found another refute for it “Sanskrit and Computer research is dead after 1986 and nothing substantial had been achieved”.
Those who are still in oblivion of nothing substantial has been achieved must go through Sanskrit and Natural Language Processing work by Dr Srinivasa Varakhedi of Center for Advanced Studies and Research in Shabdabodha and NLP,” Anusaaraka: An Approach to Machine Translation by Chinmaya International Foundation, “Pāņini's Ashţādhyāyī: A Computer Scientist's Perspective” by Amba Kulkarni Department of Sanskrit Studies University of Hyderabad.
We also need to understand how we present case of Sanskrit forward, we can’t win the war by just bombarding everyone with Rick Briggs, we must understand why Sanskrit is important for computers, it is important because of its knowledge representation methods. We need to understand it’s suitability for Computers first.
Myth: Sanskrit is tough to learn
What does it mean? Does it mean every other language is easy to learn? Which language is not? Do you think learning Japanese, Mandrian , German or French is easy?
Every language is tough until you don’t listen in it, don’t read in it, don’t speak in it and don’t write in it, moreover is nothing but attitude adjustment to learn a language. Once you decided to learn, you will learn it in any case. Sanskrit learning is easy because there is no concept of capital letters or small letters as compared to other languages. Think about a scenario when billions of people are well verse in Sanskrit, they can communicate with each other in Sanskrit, world of knowledge representation will become easier for us. In fact the word grammar itself is vyakarana—which is split into vi + aa + karana = (vi) separate + aa (analyse) + doing (karana), ie “separation and analysis”. This will be the point when we can say yes, Sanskrit is most suitable for knowledge representations in the world of Ccomputers and network. On the practical side rational mind with bit knowledge about language will acknowledge without any difficulty that in terms of grammar, phonetics, vocabulary and the Devanagari Script, Sanskrit is the most wonderful for communication. Author Sampad and Vijay in their book “The Wonder that is Sanskrit” refuted that it was language of Hindu or religious language and difficult language to learn.
Myth: Only few people speak Sanskrit
In an article published at BBC “Why is Sanskrit so controversial?” Sanjoy Majumder quote “According to the last census, 14,000 people described Sanskrit as their primary language, with almost no speakers in the country's North-East, Orissa, Jammu and Kashmir, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and even Gujarat.” But According to last census, 14,000 is not the number but it was number as per 2001 census, latest census held in 2011. If this is the case in 2011 census too, than this is the perfect reason to spread, teach Sanskrit to everyone in this country.”
As always journalist fails to research about peoples movement in any walk of life, one such movement known as the “Speak Samskrit Movement” started in Bangalore (Now Bengaluru) in 1981. This mammoth task taken over by volunteers and evolved the organisation Samskrita Bharati in 1995.
Samskrita Bharati, through Samskrit Sambhashan camps which trained over 90 lakh people in Sanskrit speaking during the last 30 years. If such a mammoth task can be achieved by an organisation without the help of the state, imagine what we can achieve with state help. If 90 lakh people trained by one organisation is very few than I leave it to the judgments of anti-Sanskrit lobby that when we will say sufficient number of people speaking Sanskrit, now let us provide state support to it.
Relevance of Sanskrit in modern time can cited from the speech delivered by Honorable Former President of India and Missile man Dr APJ Abdul Kalam. In a speech delivered to the students of Guru Sarvabhouma Sanskrit Vidyaapeetham, Mantralayam on February 1 in 2007, he said inter alia: “Richness of Sanskrit, though I am not an expert in Sanskrit, I have many friends who are proficient in Sanskrit. Sanskrit is a beautiful language. It has enriched our society from time immemorial. Today many nations are trying to research on the Sanskrit writings which are there in our ancient scriptures. I understand that there is a wealth of knowledge available in Sanskrit which the scientists and technologists are finding today. There is a need to carry out research on our Vedas particularly Atharvana Veda for eliciting many valuable information in Science and Technology relating to medicine, flight sciences, material sciences and many other related fields. Cryptology is another area where Sanskrit language is liberally used”. It took 32 years for the prestigious institution like JNU to setup “Center for Sanskrit Studies”, that too by an independent effort. We can’t ignore the facts that JNU is Communist fort, and opening up a Sanskrit center was last nail in its anti-Sanskrit lobby. But we have miles to go before we sleep, we have mammoth task at our hand with lots of opposition from arrogant, opportunist people, arrogant in terms of understanding needs of Sanskrit and opportunist those who want to paint Sanskrit as language of Hindu, Hinduism, Hindutva and connects it with revivalism of sectarian forces in country. We must prepare a plan against those who tries to paint Sanskrit as agenda of sectarian forces. We need to fight tooth and nail with anti-Sanskrit lobby.
Hitesh Rangra (The writer is a social media activist & political commentator)