Empires of all languages grew on the support of military. Sanskrit is the only language whose empire grew on the basis of knowledge. Sanskrit is a giver language; it never asks anything in return
They gathered from all over the country, mingled with each other and tried to chart out a new path. Rather than wailing over the sorry state of the language, they deliberated over the way out to bring the language from the abyss it is in right now. This is how one can describe the story of the participants of two-day convention for the Sanskrit language held recently in the national capital.
Held under the auspices of the Bharatiya Bhasha Manch (BBM) an autonomous organisation, along with the Bharatiya Shiksha Sanskriti Utthan Nyas, the convention sought to promote Sanskrit language in the education sector. The convention was open for everyone, with the only criteria of being love for this ancient language. True to this condition, about 400 teachers, students, and language enthusiasts of 33 universities from 17 states came together for the extensive exchange of knowledge and insights by veterans in the academia.
Topics of Discussions
Titled Rashtriya Sanskrit Sammelan, the convention was held on November 25 and 26. The issues it covered ranged from increasing demand for foreign languages in schools as an option under the three-language formula and in the enthusiasm about the Sanskrit language among the youth, use of modern technology for the propagation of Sanskrit and also the education policy of the country vis-a-vis Sanskrit. “Usefulness of Sanskrit language in modern times”, “Glory of ancient knowledge and science in Sanskrit”, “Review of current curriculum”, “Sanskrit in Government institutions” were some of the topics of discussion.
The participants of the convention attended seminars, talks and group discussions that were held in the sprawling premise of the Adya Katyayani Shaktipeeth Temple in Chattarpur, New Delhi.
Dr V Dayalu, General Secretary of the Sanskrit Shikshak Sangathan who assisted in organising the event, informed, “The uniqueness of the programme was that none of the invitee— neither speakers, nor dignitaries nor participants—were paid any travelling allowance. They came here with their expenses and we only arranged their stay here. While similar programmes held by Government institutions run into crores of rupees due to such expenses, we could manage it on a shoestring budget. The heavy number of participants only demonstrated the fact that Sanskrit enjoys a good receptivity among masses. The only need is an honest effort.”
The event was unlike any other run-of-the-mill kind that is held for the revival of Sanskrit, especially by Government agencies and academic institutions. BBM had organised 121 meetings all over the country for this event. According to Vrushabh Prasad Jain, national coordinator of BBM said, “This was the first time that valuable inputs of common people are being collected for an intellectual event like this. We are conducting a survey throughout the country, wherein we are asking people about their views and expectations from the Sanskrit language. We are receiving a very good response.” It was meant to be a platform where teachers and scholars from both regular and Sanskrit schools would join hands to give the language a push.
The two-day event saw dignitaries like Haryana’s Governor Kaptan Singh Solanki, Chancellor of Lal Bahadur Sanskrit University Dr Ramesh Kumar Pandey, Chancellor of Uttarakhand Sanskrit University Prof Piyush Kant Dikshit, BBM’s patron Atul Kothari, former Chancellor of Mahatma Gandhi Hindi University, Wardha Dr Kapil Kapoor. They all pondered over the status of Sanskrit and efforts
necessary to rejuvenate the Sanskrit ‘that carries the soul of Bharat in it.
BBM’s patron Atul Kothari who addressed the inaugural session said, “Advancement of any Bharatiya language cannot happen without Sanskrit. This convention will not discuss problems, but the solutions. Our mother and mother tongue is Sanskrit and there can be no alternative for that. It is true that there is darkness, but it will not go away by just saying ‘light, light’. Every one of us will have to ignite a lamp in the arena of Sanskrit to allay that darkness.” He lamented the fact that no Sanskrit scholar raised a word when Sanskrit was replaced by German in the Kendriya Vidyalayas. Emphasising on the sense of environment in Sanskrit, he pointed out that every chapter of the books on the environment for std. 1 to 9, which have been published through BBM”s efforts, carries a Sanskrit mantra.
Problems for Sanskrit
Prof Pandey said that those sitting in administration are not aware of the problems of Sanskrit. “We have to first bring respect for Sanskrit. It is due to the inherent capacity of Sanskrit that it has survived even after enduring so much onslaught and neglect. A teacher of Sanskrit can never be miserable,” he said. He rued the fact the younger students of Sanskrit rely on guides and notes instead of going into the original texts that are much more profound.
Madan Mohan Jha, professor in Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai demonstrated various apps developed for the study and use of Sanskrit. He provided statistics to claim that Sanskrit is far from dead and on the contrary, its popularity is on the rise. “We have developed 20 apps and some of these apps have seen 3.5 lakh downloads. None of the app has below one lakh downloads. We are also using services like Skype to reach to the audience. We have conducted live poetry session during the Sanskrit week (in August) and we conduct live Sanskrit speeches by scholars every Saturday and Sunday,” he informed.
In the concluding ceremony, Prof. Kapoor exhorted Sanskrit teachers to abandon the love for material comforts and pursue the path of knowledge. “In the history of the world, empires of all languages grew on the support of military. Sanskrit is the only knowledge whose empire grew on the basis of knowledge. Sanskrit is a giver language; it never asks anything in return. Since the beginning of the human history, civilisations have appeared and disappeared on the world stage. Only the Hindu civilisation has remained intact from time immemorial and it is because of Sanskrit,” he said.
Prof. Kapoor further said that Sanskrit is much revered even today by the public, it is only some people who are contemptuous to it. Expressing deep sadness over the plight of rare manuscripts and people’s callousness towards them, he demanded that the Sanskrit language and manuscripts, which are heritage of Bharat, should be protected on priority basis. Few resolutions were passed at the end of the convention that appealed everyone to work together.
In his valedictory address, Governor of Haryana Shri Kaptan Singh Solanki, who chaired the concluding ceremony, said that every individual should come forward for the protection of Sanskrit and Sanskriti (culture). “The Sanskrit contains a treasure trove of art of living. It isspiritual knowledge and there are countless examples for the same. We have to make education Bharatiya. For a clean, healthy, mighty, educated and secure Bharat, adopting Sanskrit is indispensible,” he said.
Besides the academic discussions, the venue witnessed a brilliant exhibition depicting Sanskrit’s connection with the South East Asia, China, Japan and Sri Lanka. The exhibition was arranged by Prof. Dr Shashibala, Dean, Centre for Indology, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. There were also cultural programmes consistingof Kathak dance, yogasana demonstrations, a Sanskrit drama that brought smiles to audience and Sanskrit songs set on the Bollywood tunes as well. Overall, it marked a well meaning beginning in the direction of making Sanskrit available to masses andconsequently, making education system in the country more Bharatiya. n