From left Shri Chamu Krishna Shastry, Shri Mohan Bhagwat and Prof. Shrinivas Varakhedi releasing ‘Samskrita-Kakshyaa’ in Nagpur
RSS Sarsanghachalak Shri Mohan Bhagwat releases ‘Samskrita-Kakshyaa’, a handbook for Samskrit teachers focusing on the simple language that should be used in classroom
Nagpur: RSS Sarsanghachalak Shri Mohan Bhagwat released ‘Samskrita-Kakshyaa’ (Sanskrit Classroom) on July 20. The book has been written by Shri Chamu Krishna Shastry, the Padmashri Awardee and trustee secretary of Samskrit Promotion Foundation (SPF) at Chitnavis Centre. The function was organised in association with the Kavikulaguru Kalidas Sanskrit University (KKSU). Vice Chancellor of KKSU, Prof. Shrinivas Varakhedi, presided over the function. Registrar Prof. CG Vijayakumar welcomed the chief guest and other dignitaries including RSS Sarkaryavah Shri Bhaiyaji Joshi. Shri Chamu Krishna Shastry introduced the activities of SPF and also the book.
Shri Mohan Bhagwat touched different aspects of Samskrit, including its pedagogy. He said the Samskrit is the uniting framework for all the Indian languages and also many languages of the world. Sanskrit is the container of knowledge—the framework in which knowledge is preserved. He said the Indian knowledge systems like Yoga, Ayurveda, Mathematics, Astronomy, Agriculture, Philosophy, etc have common terminology in Samskrit. Even to understand the history of Bharat, one should learn Samskrit.
Shri Bhagwat stressed on reading the original works and not translations. He said Dr Ambedkar once exclaimed that he had to depend on the Western translations to know about the Indian history or literature. “Lack of knowledge in Sanskrit denied him the opportunity to learn about his own country, people and its traditions from original sources. Emotions, beauty, subtlety generally gets lost in translation done by people of other countries. Many times, translations are undertaken with specific intentions too,” he said.
The Sarsanghachalak also said that Sanskrit is the language of all. A number of books written in this language prove that Samskrit has been the language of the common people in this country. It would not have been possible, otherwise. But at some stage, it could have been denied for few sections of society and its fall might probably have started from there, he said.
Describing Samskrit as ‘Atma Bhasha’ (our own language just like ones’ mother), he said one doesn’t count how much one spends on one’s own mother if she is sick or whether she is beautiful or not. “It is one’s responsibility to take care of the mother. Similarly, we need to do all that is required to keep this language in use and propel its growth,” he added. He focused on three key aspects of Samskrit. One, Samskrit is the most scientific and proficient language. Two, it should be taught in an interesting way (learner should not to be frightened)—though I feared learning Samskrit while at school, as a Pracharak in spite of continuous travel, I passed all the four levels of exams offered by Samskrita Bharati. Three, Samskrit has such beauty and precision that it can easily handle the unity, diversity and its multi-various aspects to satisfy every individual.
He said the Samskrit is taught in almost all the universities across the world. There are many reasons why people study this language. In Bharat, students opt for it, as they consider it the scoring subject! Whereas in the West, it is studied due to its precision. It is not just the language of knowledge and spirituality, it is our own language. The emotions across our country from Afghanistan to Kamrup, Kashmir to Sri Lanka is similar due to Sanskrit. We need to continue to transact and improvise it. For that, should not this language be taught according to the current needs and aspirations of the society? This book addresses that specific issue,” Shri Bhagwat added.
Indian knowledge systems—Yoga, Ayurveda, Mathematics, Astronomy, Agriculture, Philosophy, etc. have common terminology in Samskrit. Even to understand the history of Bharat, one should learn Samskrit
He further said that ‘Samskrita-Kakshyaa’ (Samskrit Classroom) is very much a handbook for Samskrit Teachers. “It is in sutra form; crisp and comprehensive. It describes that language used in the classroom needs to be simple and standard. The learner should absorb all the fundamental aspects of the classroom environment, without any effort. Required vocabulary and sentence structure need to be effortlessly gained by the learner with suitably crafted exercises. Finally, this is all devised, executed and tweaked for desired results only by the Samskrit teacher. I have read this book from cover to cover. I suggest that every ‘Samskrit Teacher’ will benefit from reading this book. I congratulate Shri Chamu Krishna Shastry for his purposeful effort,” the Sarsanghachalak added.
‘Samskrita-Kakshyaa’ basically deals with pedagogical issues of the teaching of Samskrit, especially teaching Samskrit through Samskrit. There are ten chapters in the book like, Samskrit Classroom, Teaching Language, Simple and Standardised Samskrit, Basic Samskrit, Use of Target language, suggestions to achieve 90% or more success, easy conversational method, Exercises, Model examples and the Samskrit Teacher. The whole material is based on ‘Practical Approach to Teaching and Learning of Samskrit’ through the target language, i.e. Samskrit.
The foremost problem in teaching Samskrit is that the target language is not the communication language in the classroom. Samskrit is generally taught through Hindi, English or regional languages. The book suggests that creating Samskrit environment in the classroom is a key solution to overcome this problem. It provides a lot of suggestions to achieve this. One of the most important aspects of this book is collections of experiences from successful teachers in this experiment. It has recorded novel experiments conducted by teachers across the country from different areas. Special stress has been provided on the Samskrit pedagogical issues like:
- Experiments on the Direct Approach
- Communicative methodology
- Use of Samskrit Text Book as only one of the means
- Ample use of language exercises
- Conversation in the classroom
- Use of Simple and lucid Samskrit in the classrooms
- Use of co-curricular Samskrit Activities.
- Use of multimedia to facilitate Samskrit Environment
- Use of Technology
- Address all four language skills; Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing
- More stress on oral skills like listening and speaking.
- Lesser Home Work (practice-oriented)
- Storytelling and skits by students in simple Samskrit.
- Singing Samskrit songs in the classroom.
- Creating the Samskrit environment in the school through picture charts, wall magazines, informal talks and instructions, morning assembly etc.
- Quiz in Samskrit.
- Samskrit Exhibitions on different occasions in the school.
The book also reflects the following issues:
- Aims and objective of teaching Samskrit at different levels cannot be the sameUse of instructional language should also be different at different levels
- Use of Simple Standard Samskrit at Schools, Colleges and every institution
- The book very clearly emphasises that Samskrit is a familiar language to Indian students as about 60% to 70% vocabulary is common with the mother tongue of the child
- Sentence structure is almost the same (S+O+V)
- Various graphs, pictures and tables facilitate an easy grasp of theme
- Captures the qualities of successful ‘Samskrit Teacher.’
On the whole, the book is a must-read for all Samskrit Teachers (and language teachers). The books can be obtained from Samskrit Promotion Foundation by visiting (www.samskritpromotion.in or www.learnsamskrit.online) n