ArpitGarg's Weblog

An opinion of the world around me

Sanskrit in IIT’s: Playing Devils Advocate

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sanskrit.jpgHRD Ministry has asked IIT’s to teach Sanskrit. The aim is to leverage the study of science from ancient literature. This literature is primarily in Sanskrit and hence the need to study the language first.

At this point it is not clear if these courses will be optional or compulsory. As much as I know IIT’s, the courses would be optional. Somewhat like the humanities subjects. The reaction to the decision has been mixed. Some have welcomed, some have laughed at it.

Is the decision any good? Is there any harm if Sanskrit is taught? Is the backlash valid or is it just because we think little of Sanskrit. Would the backlash be same if it was Spanish or German? A lot of aspects need to be looked at. Let me play the devils advocate for now.

Pros:

  1. Back to the roots: Due to better job and research opportunities abroad, every year there is a mass migration. The sense of pride in our own legacy has gone missing. Hopefully study of Vedas from scientific point of view might instill some much needed belief. What I most like about Japanese and Chinese people is the pride they take in their traditions and beliefs. If teaching Sanskrit gives us an insight into the uncharted treasure, would be good to have.
  2. Fact vs Fiction: We all have read as to how Sanskrit is the most scientific language. How we can use Sanskrit for technological advancement. How our ancient literature was way ahead of its times and can even compete with the contemporary. The study of Sanskrit will give us an opportunity to vet these topics. Since it will mostly be optional, those who want to they can choose to.
  3. Fight the ills of society: The biggest of the ills of our society has been propagated by people who held on to Sanskrit. I am talking about the so called Brahmins. They monopolized the religion and religious rituals by understanding or simply by-hearting Sanskrit Shlokas. If Sanskrit study kicked off, hopefully these people will not be able to make fool of the populace. The need for the Panditji will subside when we could recite the Shlokas ourselves. This will take time and would require teaching Sanskrit in all colleges and not just IIT’s.

Cons:

  1. May become compulsory: There are chances that after a trial run, Govt. might make it a compulsory subject for the 1st semester. This might cause the grades to suffer as Sanskrit is hard to master. Most of the students haven’t been in touch with it from some time. This might take away from the time which the students would have otherwise spent on technical curriculum.
  2. An attempt to propagate myths: There have been attempts to propagate myths such as presence of flying objects during Ramayana era (Vimana). There is an attempt to push through unsubstantiated reasoning’s in the name of ancient literature. Sanskrit might end up just being right wing propaganda to spread such beliefs. Beliefs which go against continuity of advancement.
  3. Going backward: Top IQ students spending time on an almost extinct language is akin to going backward. India requires urgent development and reading Sanskrit is not going to give us that. Better would have been global language like Spanish through which we would be able to connect to the world better and help in job creation.

Eventually time will tell if Sanskrit is helpful or not. Lets wait and watch!

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Written by arpitgarg

April 27, 2016 at 6:49 pm

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