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Cogent Steps For Value-Based Education In India Through Sanskrit

Updated: May 29, 2015 11:31 pm

“Education is the manifestation of perfection already in man”, thus said Swami Vivekananda. He further elaborated, “We want that education by which character is built; the courage of a lion is generated; time-honoured human values are inculcated and, above all, one can stand on his own feet.” The message to mankind of Swamiji, while unearthing the real purpose of education, is loud and clear. It coincides with underlying spirit of the preamble of the Indian Constitution that openly advocates for social & economic justice, equality, individual liberty and global fraternity for the all-round growth and prosperity of a democratic country like India. Taking a cue from this historic tradition of Indian system of education, Minister of Human Resource Development (HRD ) Smriti Z Irani, in one of her eloquent deliberations made in Vigyan Bhavan on the occasion of the Vice-Chancellors’ Conference organized jointly by the UGC and NCTE, Government of India for upgrading the standards of teacher education in the country, reiterated,“teachers are considered to be important factors in our system of teaching-learning process. The standards of the teacher education in the country needs to be improved; so that the time-tested human values along with the ideas of वसुधैवकुटुम्बकम् (The world is one family) can be spread across the globe”. To promote this noble idea, the MHRD, under the guidance of the Hon’ble Minister, has implemented a lot of schemes of which the promotion of Sanskrit both in India and abroad deserves special mention.

As per the Government of India scheme, every year 15 Sanskrit scholars of eminence from India and one from abroad are selected to receive Certificate of Honour from the President of India for which each scholar gets a cash award of Rupees five lakhs and other honours. Five young scholars get Vedavyasa Award and other scholars belonging to Pali, Prakrit and Parsi also receive the Presidential Awards every year and on march 23 scholars of Sanskrit and other languages received their awards, Certificates of Honours from the President of India in the presence of HRD minister in a glittering function organized by MHRD in Rashtrapathi Bhavan, New Delhi on March 23, 2015. The scholars those who were honoured the said function  were Shri Raja S Giri Acharya, Dr. Francois Grimal, Dr. R Krishnakurthi Sastri, Shri Manohar Vidyalankar, Shri S Sambanda Sivacharya, Shri Jagadgurunimbarkacharya, Shri Shriji Maharaj Radhasarveshwar-sharandevacharya, Dr. Rama Shankar Tripathi, Shri V Krishnamurthi Ghanapatigal, Shri Areyar Srirama Sharma, Prof. Radhavallabh Tripathi, Shri Chellam Srinivasa Somayaji, Prof. Vempaty Kutumba Sastry, Prof. Om Prakash Upadhayay and Prof. Shashi Prabha Kumar.This has certainly encouraged not only these eminent scholars but also others in the field striving hard for promotion of Sanskrit and Indian culture through various works.

Celebration of Sanskrit Week from  August 5, 2014 to August 11, 2014 throughout the country in all schools, colleges & universities under the supervision of the MHRD is a unique step of the HRD minister to generate awareness for promotion of Sanskit and value-based education in India. The successful celebration of Sanskrit Week in the entire country, despite some controversies in Tamil Nadu from a particular political segment, shows the full commitment of the Government of India for the revival of the traditional system of Indian wisdom based on Satya, Jnana and Dharma.

It is believed that at one point of time, Sanskrit was used as a mother language in our country. But in course of time, with the revival of so many regional languages, the importance of Sanskrit got deteriorated and the space of Sanskrit was occupied by other languages. There is a need to revive the past glory of Sanskrit and the common man of the country needs to be trained to learn Sanskrit for which systematic materials are required. Keeping this in view, as per the directions of the MHRD, the Rashtriya Sanskrit Vidyapeetha, Tirupati, has prepared four volumes of materials in a scientific manner for the common learners of Sanskrit, for which the permission of the Minister was obtained.

It is hoped that these materials, concrete contributions of the MHRD, India, will go a long way in helping the aspirants to learn Sanskrit in an easy manner. Promotion of Vedic studies has become another priority area on the part of the MHRD during the year. The historic decision taken by the Maharshi Sandipani Vedvidya Pratisthanam, under the chairmanship of the HRD minister to give one hundred fellowships to the learners of the Vedas is a glaring example of the commitment of the government of India for promotion of Vedas and Vedic studies in India and abroad. Out of these one hundred scholarships, it is further decided to give fifty scholarships to women scholars; a timely step that has created history to encourage girl students to read Vedas in the country. It is not out of place to mention that at one point of time, women scholars like Gargi, Maitreyee, Visvavara and others were well conversed in the Vedas, who proved their worth in participating in scholarly discussions and composing various Suktas and the recent decision of the Government to encourage women scholars to read Vedas and conduct research on the Vedic studies will certainly revive the ancient Indian tradition of women studying Vedas. The constitution of a high level committee consisting of Prof. V Kutumba Sastri, Vice-Chancellor, Somnath Sanskrit University, Gujarat (In Chair), Prof. S Sudarsana Sharma, Vice-Chairman, Maharshi Sandipani Rashtriya Vedvidya Pratisthanam, Ujjain and former Vice-Chancellor and Prof. KE Devanathan, Vice-Chancellor, SV Vedic University, Tirupati by the MHRD to restructure Vedic studies in India is a step forward to promote Vedas in this sacred land of knowledge and wisdom.

The initiative of the MHRD Government of India to give a vibrant boost to the next World Sanskrit Conference to be held in Bankok from June 28, 2015 to July 02, 2015 is another successful measure taken by the Government of India to make its perception very clear regarding the importance and relevance of Sanskrit in the contemporary society. The participation of the HRD minister in the said conference along with a delegation of scholars is an example of the commitment of India, the land of Sanskrit, Buddhism and spiritualism, for development of Sanskrit not only in India but also in abroad.

Needless to say that intense study of Sanskrit and continuous research on it will definitely unearth a very brilliant system of education, of which India was not only proud but also was worshipped as the preceptor of the entire world at one point of time as mentioned by Manu, the first law-giver of the country.

(The writer is Vice-Chancellor, Rashtriya Sanskrit Vidyapeetha, Tirupati)


By Harekrishna Satapathy

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