Sanskrit is crucial to culture, but is in danger: Statements made at National Sanskrit Convention

The National Sanskrit University (NSU) in Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh is hosting the three-day national convention
Arif Mohammad Khan | Pic: Express
Arif Mohammad Khan | Pic: Express

"India will not be India without Sanskrit," remarked Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan at the National Sanskrit University (NSU) in Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh. The university, in association with the Samskriti Foundation in Mysuru and Sahitya Akademi (under the aegis of the Ministry of Culture), is hosting a three-day National Sanskrit Convention Samskrita Samunmesha.

On Wednesday, July 12, Khan, who was the chief guest, inaugurated the convention. Addressing the session, he said, "Sanskrit is a language that acts as a custodian of our Sanatana ideals and values. It helped Indian civilisation maintain its continuity. Other ancient civilisations like the Greek civilisation failed to maintain their continuity and declined in the modern world," as noted in a report by The New Indian Express.

"Indian civilisation and culture have continued to sustain because it is not defined by either a particular race, language, faith or tradition. We need to explain to people how beneficial the study of the Sanskrit language is. Once people are made aware of the history of Sanskrit and its benefits, they will learn the language on their own even if it is not taught in government schools," Khan added further.

Subsequently, while delivering his presidential address, NSU Chancellor N Gopalaswamy stated that the Sanskrit language was in danger due to the new language education formula adopted by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) at the secondary and higher secondary education levels. He further raised apprehensions over the survival of Sanskrit in the next five to ten years.

"The three-language formula adopted by the CBSE for students of up to Class VIII, two languages for Class IX, and X and one language for Class XI and XII, will drive them away from learning the traditional language. The three-language formula will promote English and mother tongue, but ignore Sanskrit. Students of Class IX and X will be forced to select and learn English and foreign languages like German, Spanish and French. This will result in Sanskrit becoming the first casualty and mother tongue, the second casualty," Gopalaswamy said.

"As a result, there is a potential threat that few students will study Sanskrit at the higher education level as the language will not be taught during school education. State education boards will follow what the CBSE has implemented, putting Sanskrit in danger. It is time for us to come together and fight in this regard," he added.

Meanwhile, Governor of Assam Gulab Chand Kataria, who was the chief guest at the Ashtavadhanam session of the convention, similarly emphasised that Sanskrit is the main source of Indian culture.

Ancient Sanskrit manuscripts, books and photos of Sanskrit inscriptions were put up for display at the expos on the sidelines of the national convention, which attracted a number of participants, as per TNIE.

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