Published: 11th December 2019
Will three new Sanskrit Central Universities help revive the language in India?
Minister Satyapal Singh said last December that the ministry has initiated a proposal to turn three deemed universities teach in Sanskrit into central universities
A bill to set up central Sanskrit universities was introduced in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday. The bill, moved by HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal, seeks to convert three Sanskrit deemed universities presently functioning in the country into central universities. The three Sanskrit deemed universities that will be converted into central universities include the Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan and the Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri Rashtriya Sanskrit Vidyapeeth in New Delhi and the Rashtriya Sanskrit Vidyapeeth in Tirupati.
The bill will probably be passed soon enough as the BJP has a majority and a wave of 'ayes' is what can be expected. But will upgrades on paper help anymore? The state of Sanskrit institutions across the country is not really something to be proud of. Sampurnanand Sanskrit Vishwavidyalaya in Varanasi, the Prime Minister's constituency, is one such prestigious institution that is now in shambles. More than 200 staff members including 35 professors were in deep financial crisis earlier this year and students were also protesting about the lack of teachers and basic amenities at the hostels and classrooms. Though the problem is not new, according to a senior academic staff it aggravated after 2014 because the BJP government reduced the budget for Sanskrit education. Sanskrit education in India has been in deplorable conditions — 27 reputed Sanskrit institutions during Independence, we have come down to one or two that we can still name.
While the Sansthan dates back to 1970, Lal Bahadur Shastri Rsahtriya Sanskrit Vidyapeeth was set up in 1962. The Rashtriya Sanskrit Vidyapeeth in Tirupati came up in 1961. All three were granted deemed university status by the UGC later.
Minister of State for Human Resource Development Satyapal Singh in the Parliament last December said that the ministry has initiated a proposal to turn three deemed universities which impart education in Sanskrit into central universities. The minister in a written reply to the Parliament said that as per the demand from the Sanskrit scholars and academia the Human Resource Development Ministry has initiated a proposal to convert the three deemed-to-be-universities into central universities in order to make them a seat of Sanskrit learning of both national and international reputation.
There are about 45 central universities in India at present from which 40 functions under the supervision of the Human Resource Development Ministry. As per an earlier release from the Union government, the central Sanskrit university bill, 2019 was listed among the 27 bills for introduction, consideration and passing in the Winter Session of Parliament which began on November 18, 2019. The union cabinet also approved the bill to amend the law that governs the welfare of the senior citizens on Wednesday. The Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens (Amendment) Bill 2019 provides the basic needs, safety and security to the senior citizens in the country.