Published: 09th March 2022
Vinay Sahasrabudde: Regional languages must be languages of knowledge creation and dissemination
We observed an imbalance in the importance given to historic periods, he said when asked about removing a chunk of history from Rajasthan's textbooks
Learning from the ancients is a topic the country often stumbles upon, yet conveniently ignores. It is high time it is addressed, said Vinay Sahasrabuddhe, MP and President, Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), in a tête-à-tête with author and journalist Ravi Shankar at the 10th edition of ThinkEdu Conclave, organised by The New Indian Express on March 9.
"When we talk about rootedness, we also have to talk about our ancient past. The ICCR conducts a Ramayan festival every years and five years ago, our team was apprehensive about inviting Brunei, which is predominantly a Muslim country. We were surprised when they immediately accepted the invite and performed at the festival with utmost vigour. When we later explained to them our apprehension, a delegate said it was not the religion, but the culture that matters. That completely changed our outlook," said Sahasrabuddhe.
There are so many countries that associate themselves with the ethics of Indian creation, then why do we shy away from even talking about it? he asked. Even Tehran holds special courses for Upanishads that are considered to be of Indian origin.
When Ravi Shankar asked about the chopping of a major chunk of Mughal history from textbooks in Rajasthan, Sahasrabuddhe was quick to reply, "We observed an imbalance in the importance given to historic periods. Most of them were centred around medieval history. The new textbooks will have a correction."
He also stressed on the importance of teaching in local languages. "Emphasis on education in mother tongue is long overdue. Regional languages must be made into languages of knowledge creation and dissemination. If not, the languages will not be able to graduate to a universal level. If the French can learn medicine and technology in their language, why can't we do the same? It is high time that happens," said Sahasrabuddhe.
ThinkEdu 2022 is the grand tenth edition of what has consistently been India's biggest education conclave for a decade now. March 8 and 9 will see some stalwarts of India's academic, economic and political ecosystems bring ideas, ideologies and reflections on the past, present and future of India's education system. The sessions will be viewed by a live audience, in addition to the 2,750 registered users on the conclave's digital space. Over the last nine years, the conclave has seen some true stalwart thinkers such as former presidents Dr APJ Abdul Kalam and Dr Pranab Mukherjee, MPs Jairam Ramesh, Smriti Irani, former CM of Jammu and Kashmir Farooq Abdullah, NITI Aayog's CEO Amitabh Kant and spiritual guide Sadhguru.