August 28, 2011

Sanskrit Back in Demand Amongst Students

KOCHI: The language of the devas is slowly yet steadily coming back to
the mortals. A language that is 'mother' to most of the languages in
India and a remnant link of the anthropological connection of the
Indian race to the Germanic roots has long been considered a dying
language. In Kerala though, thanks to the youth festivals more
schoolchildren are finding renewed interest in Sanskrit, notes
Jayaprakash, a sanskrit teacher at Allapuzha TD School. "Since 2004,
when I started teaching in schools, I feel the number of students has
doubled." The opportunity by such festivals and scholarships that are
given by the state is also a good impetus to it", he adds.

The youth festivals are going to start at school level in the coming
weeks. Sanskritotsavam, which is a part of the youth festival in the
state has been instrumental in promoting sanskrit by making sopana
sangeetham, chakiyar kuthu and such traditional art form as
competition items.

Since, there is a need for students to perform and learn Sanskrit,
there is a need for sanskrit teachers. "It's way better than what it
was in the 80s when I joined", says Dr S Malini, sanskrit teacher,
Government College, Thiruvananthapuram. She feels that there are more
people who are now taking up Sanskrit, as a career option
nevertheless, that quantity may not translate into quality in

"Some of the students come in because they see job opportunity. That
coupled with reservation would make it a sure-shot entry into
government service for many", she points out.

She has students both young and old coming to her for private
tuitions. "The older generations come to me so that they can better
understand the scriptures." And then there are students like
Praseetha, 22, an NRI- returned who opted for sanskrit for the
language's importance to her tradition.

Though there is a slow rise in the interest towards the language, a
communalism angle seems to be weighing this language down. For K
Muthuleksmi at Shankaracharyacharya university has a different take on
it. "In the whole Navodhanam movement great men like Narayana Guru,
Chattambi Swami to name a few, have all promoted sanskrit. The
language that is believed to be in existence before the term
'hindutva', shouldn't ever be coloured."

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