New Delhi, 03 Aug: ‘‘Sanskrit is the world’s oldest written language that has its roots in oral traditions, a language which our ancient rishis realized through their tapas and which they bequeathed to their disciples. This tradition is still continuing. It is because of this reason that is called ‘shruti’. This shruti is the original source of all Indian philosophy and all that is existent in Sanskrit. On this basis, we can say that whatever flowered in the form of Indian philosophy and literature is entrenched in Sanskrit,’’ said Ramesh Kumar Pandey, Vice-Chancellor, Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri National Sanskrit University (Central University), New Delhi.
Prof. Pandey was appointed as In-charge Vice-Chancellor of the University on 9th April, 2015 and subsequently as Regular Vice-Chancellor on 28th August 2015 of the university for a period of 5 years. After completion of his Post Graduate and Ph.D. Degree from the Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi he joined as Lecturer at Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan Campus at Puri in 1987 and thereafter joined as Reader in Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri National Sanskrit University in 1995.
During 1996, he was awarded D.Lit. in Sanskrit Sahitya from Darbhanga Sanskrit Vishwavidyalaya. He was appointed as Professor in the year 1999 in the Department of Research & Publication of Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri National Sanskrit University, New Delhi. He had delivered lecturers on Sanskrit literature while visiting Italy, France, Germany, Magnolia, Japan, USA and West Indies to spread the knowledge of Sanskrit literature. He had published more than 20 books and 25 research articles on Sanskrit literature.
On the eve of World Sanskrit Day (3rd August) in an interview with Shri Ram Shaw, he opens up about the relevancy of Sanskrit in modern day and its usefulness as far as job opportunities are concerned. Welcoming the National Education Policy, 2020, he said,“ These reforms in the education sector were long awaited and will transform India into a Global education and research hub if implemented carefully. It takes into account the changes happening across the country right from the foundation till the student reaches a professional level and several other important objectives of inclusive education”.
In your view, what is the role of Sanskrit to realize the dream of “Atmanirbhar Bharat” as India moves forward in the 21st century?
‘‘Ayam nijah paro veti ganana laghuchetsaam, Udaarcharitanaam tu vasudhaiv kutumbkam.’’
This sukta is in Sanskrit language which means that a person who differentiates between mine and another should be considered as belonging to lower plane because of his lower thoughts. A generous person knows that the entire earth is his family. This kind of Indian culture and literature are tied to Sanskrit language. This Sanskrit language is our medium of contemplation, expression and wisdom. So, the basis of Indian culture is Sanskrit language only.
Sanskrit is not merely a subject. This is the language which is in fact, connected with various ancient and modern subjects and becomes the base of prestigious vocations. Sanskrit education is based on values of life and living. Because of this, a person who is well versed with Sanskrit language, witnesses the evolution of his character and personality which is required in every area of living. And now, with the New Education Policy 2020, Sanskrit can play a very important role to realize the dream of “Atmanirbhar Bharat” as India moves forward in the 21st century.
Why do you think that scientists in the west are turning to Sanskrit?
Prof Pandey: Today, in the field of science, rich nations are striving for peace in society and an end to tensions by more and more focusing on spirituality all around. In this regard, many medical practitioners are these days turning to medical sciences like Ayurveda. Scientists in the west are turning to Sanskrit language to find out more about our own ancient sciences.
What are the scopes for a person who is well versed in Sanskrit?
Prof Pandey: Needless to say, Sanskrit language covers almost all aspects of life and living. From the construction of homes to airplanes, from the treatment of animals to humans, from plant nutrition to rasayan, from dharma of society to that of politics, from agriculture to business – all aspects of life are covered in Sanskrit. Therefore, a person who is well versed in Sanskrit is also a man who is knowledgeable about subjects like Vastu, technology and climatology as well as political sciences.
How is the Sanskrit language being propagated?
Prof Pandey: In today’s India, there are two levels at which Sanskrit is being known and propagated, namely, ancient and modern. In the ancient form, the traditional knowledge is gained through the language of Sanskrit. In the modern form, this knowledge is gained through commentaries written by scholars and experts in different languages like English and Hindi.
In this modern world can Sanskrit be of any assistance in terms of job opportunities?
Prof Pandey: There is now a common thread which is gaining importance and that is to know if in this modern world Sanskrit can be of any assistance in terms of job opportunities. It is well known that in whichever region there is an opportunity for job, people normally tend to take initiative in that region. From the standpoint of job opportunities, Sanskrit is not far behind. It should be noted here that the study of Sanskrit, in fact, begins from the schooling level itself and continues till the university level, with education being imparted through traditional as well as modern techniques. So, at least there are opportunities in these educational institutions for those seeking jobs as teachers, professors etc.
Administration: Public Service Commission offers good opportunities for those who know Sanskrit language. Even as these examinations increase their grades, they also open up opportunities for knowing more about their culture etc.
Justice: Sanskrit is also very useful for those who are studying to become lawyers and appearing in such exams as they are able to understand the Indian justice system directly.
Medicine: Naturopathy and Ayurveda are being given an important place all over the world. People are returning to Ayurveda form of treatment. This is an area which has great potential for those who know Sanskrit.
Media: Nearly all forms of media, like newspapers, radio and television are printing and broadcasting daily news in Sanskrit. This provides job opportunities for those who know Sanskrit language.
Publication: Publishers of Sanskrit books employ those who know Sanskrit in the posts of editor, etc, as well as provide platform for authors who write in Sanskrit.
Business and self-employment: Society can gain a lot by the knowledge in the ancient Sanskrit literature. Vastu and astrology too have been learnt from Sanskrit scriptures and books.
‘‘All over the world, wherever there are departments of Indology, a great deal of research is going on in Sanskrit. In France and Thailand, Sanskrit Vidyapeeths have been established in those countries. Sanskrit scholars are doing their research in countries like Germany, England, Poland, Switzerland, Italy, Austria, Australia, USA, China, Japan and Canada. Every fourth year, the World Sanskrit Conference is held in different parts of the world to propagate the language and the culture’’, the Vice-Chancellor concluded.