The Union Government’s new Education Policy will let our youth escape from the shadow of the British system. It aims to reduce rote learning, encourage critical thinking, creativity, scientific temper, communication skill, collaboration skill, multilingualism, problem-solving ability, ethics, social responsibility and digital literacy.
Many of the problems in Bharat originate from rote learning environment as the product of rote learning finds it difficult to understand the ground reality. As per the draft Educational Policy, the ancient Bharatiya language, Sanskrit, will be offered at all levels of school and higher education as one of the optional languages on par with all Schedule 8 languages. Sanskrit textbooks at the Foundational and Middle school level will be rewritten in Simple Standard Sanskrit (SSS) in order to make a study of Sanskrit enjoyable. This is a path-breaking effort for national integration which should not be given an ugly communal colour by the narrow political outfit. The country’s long-cherished dream of bringing the people of North and South together is possible through a simplified version of Sanskrit language.
People in the majority of the South Indian states adore Sanskirt as most of the words spoken there originate from the Sanskrit language. People in the North have love and respect for the Sanskrit language. Sanskrit can remove the language divide created by the narrow-minded ill-bred parochial leaders. Had the simple version of Sanskrit taught in the Bharatiya schools in the last 50 years the Bharatiya border states would have successfully fought the separatist forces. Until the end of the 19th century, Kashmir was the seat of Sanskrit scholars who have contributed to classical literature. The leaders in power had neglected Sanskrit and let the separatist forces take control over people’s thoughts not only in Kashmir but in the northeast border states.
Bharatiyas over the decades have paid a heavy price by not learning one common language for trade, commerce and cultural exchange. A large number of farmers, artisans, weavers and people from the unorganised sector fall prey to middlemen as they fail to communicate directly with the consumers. An artisan from far South can sell his products directly to consumers in Delhi. Similarly, a poor Paithani saree weaver of Maharashtra can explain the quality of Paithani sarees to a rich Keralaite. The majority of weavers and artisans of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh lose a huge profit margin as they do not know any other language other than Telugu. A universally acceptable common communicative language will significantly contribute to the economic growth of the country.
Sanskrit has given clue to many scientific discoveries across the world. The environment-friendly air-conditioning system, agriculture methodologies, rainwater harvesting, lifting water to a great height, use of light and sound principles are still found in our ancient forts and palaces. German scholars and scientists have worked for decades to decipher the clues to many scientific breakthroughs. The medicinal qualities of plants which were remained hidden in the palm leaf scriptures for centuries are now found by scientists in developed nations. South Korean researchers have found their 2000 year-old history by discovering the origin of queen Suriratna who married to the legendary King Suro of South Korea. Suriratna was the princess of Ayodhya. The researchers scanned through Sanskrit scriptures and other documents in their country to establish the legendary queen’s origin. Modern scientists have proved time and again the importance of Sanskrit as the language of the future and most suitable for advanced computer coding.
Over the years a few Bharatiyas have painstakingly collected the palm leaf scriptures and preserve those documents in their personal museum for research. Gynecologist, Dr Vijay Bedekar of Thane has put his life long effort to collect palm leaf scriptures from the villagers and he did extensive research on that ancient knowledge source. Many of our priceless palm leaf scriptures were destroyed due to ignorance and neglect.
Tonnes of palm leaf books have been destroyed, stolen and smuggled out from Bharat and those ancient knowledge sources were researched in advanced country for scientific discovery. It happened because Bharatiyas have neglected Sanskrit for centuries. In the last five decades, Germany has produced more Sanskrit scholars who have deciphered many ancient palm leaf scriptures to get clues for scientific innovation. Fourteen of the top universities in Germany teach Sanskrit. The Germans are certainly not joking and they know very well the purpose of learning Sanskrit. The Union Government’s effort to promote Sanskrit will revive India’s core strength.
(The writer is a Hyderabad-based columnist)