Regular bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral courses are offered at more than 17 Sanskrit universities across the country. In addition, part-time sessions are also organized, in India and abroad, for those who wish to explore the science of Sanskrit.
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The Sanskrit Department at Hyderabad University (UoH) has launched an open interdisciplinary elective course.
Mahavir Agarwal, pro vice-chancellor, Patanjali University, Haridwar, says preconceived notions about the difficulty of the Sanskrit language have hampered its popularity. âThree decades ago, several organizations realized the information hidden in Sanskrit texts. More and more people are convinced that the Sanskrit language is only a means of performing Hindu rituals, âreveals Agarwal, former vice-president of Uttarakhand Sanskrit University, Haridwar.
Every major subject in the field of education is mentioned in the plethora of ancient Sanskrit texts, attracting students and elders to the language, Agarwal adds.
JSR Prasad, Head of Department (HoD), Sanskrit Studies, University of Hyderabad, adds that contrary to the belief that Sanskrit texts are centered on religion, over 90% of Sanskrit literature is secular and has relevance in all the domains.
Link to Ayurveda
Prasad says that in addition to solutions for physical and psychological ailments in humans, the Upanishads and Vedas also provide details about Vriksha (plant) Ayurveda. âSanskrit is a scientific language and is considered to be the root of the 6000 year old Ayurvedic philosophy. I think even modern medical science doesn’t have the depth that Ayurveda offers, âhe says.
Grammar is everything
âA system has to be built in which the grammar used in Sanskrit (Panini grammar) functions as the medium between the source language and the target language on a computer,â Agarwal adds. The advantage of the Sanskrit language is that there is no difference between reading, writing and speaking the Sanskrit language. So it’s not as difficult as we often think, âhe adds.
Besides its use in computers, Sanskrit grammar is also the basis for millions of words in Indian and world languages, Prasad adds. âTake any Sanskrit root word and you can form multiple words that are used in languages ââall over the world,â he says.
Rise in popularity
The 2020 National Education Policy (NEP) has placed emphasis on interdisciplinary courses. âWhether a student wishes to specialize in science, mathematics, management or human rights, fluency in Sanskrit will open the doors to knowledge trapped in Sanskrit texts. This will help the student to become an expert in the chosen field, âAgarwal explains.
“The awareness regarding the widespread use of Sanskrit, such as the village of Mattur in Karnataka, where only Sanskrit is the language of conversation, also shatters the myths about its popularity,” adds Prasad. He says central government efforts, in the form of junior research grants by the University Grants Commission (UGC) and a few overseas grants, are also increasing the popularity of the Sanskrit language.
Be ready for the future
There was a time when Sanskrit was considered a forgotten language, but not anymore. Hare Ram Tripathi, Vice Chancellor, Sampurnanand Sanskrit Vishwavidyalaya, Varanasi, says students take Sanskrit lessons with various goals in mind. âA lot of my students take the civil service exam and choose Sanskrit as their specialty,â he says.
Outside of academia, Sanskrit scholars have the freedom to become experts in any field they choose. “Few of my students became newscasters in Doordarshan, or became ‘dharam gurus’ in the military, among other professions,” says the VC of the country’s 230-year-old Sanskrit University.
Regarding the increase in the number of students adopting Sanskrit today, Tripathi reveals that his university’s current batch has around 1,800 students in total. âRather than making efforts to increase the number of Sanskrit scholars, we should focus on quality. Anyone claiming to be a Sanskrit scholar should live up to this statement and make the nation proud wherever they go, âsays Tripathi.