The Madurai bench of Madras High Court disposed of a petition filed against the broadcast of Sanskrit news bulletin in DD Pothigai.
In a communication in November fourth week last year, the Director-General of Doordarshan, Prasar Bharati asked the Heads of the program of all its regional satellite services channels/ state network channels to “simulcast” daily Sanskrit bulletin (telecast by DD news from 7.15 am to 7.30 am of 15 minutes duration) or provide a time slot of 15 minutes duration in next half an hour daily to respective RNU (regional news units) for the telecast of it. Regional channels to “simulcast weekly Sanskrit News magazine – Vaaratavali on every Saturday at 6 pm on DD news”.
The Sanskrit-phobic and self-proclaimed Tamil rights activists and champions of Tamil language- Dravidian parties created a furore. They have demanded DD to telecast similar news bulletin in Tamil and other regional languages in all-Hindi speaking states for the benefit of non-Hindi speaking people in those states. They termed it as an effort to “Sankritise’ the Tamil Nadu and devalue the importance of regional languages such as Tamil. They also protested besides voicing their concern. They also urged DD to recall the directive forthwith as it was against the objectives defined in the Prasar Bharati act. They even accused the Centre of trying to “impose’ languages like Hindi, Sanskrit on the people of Tamil Nadu. They said that Tamil Nadu has been studiously following two-language formula with Tamil and English so far as and has been stonewalling any such imposition attempts.
Madurai Annanagar based Advocate Muthukumar moved a petition in Madurai bench of Madras High court saying “as per the 2011 Census, TN has just 803 people speaks Sanskrit. DD broadcasts a 15-minute bulletin in Sanskrit. The Centre has allocated over one thousand crores for the development of Sanskrit. But it has not made enough funds for the development of Tamil which is more ancient. It amounted to partial treatment. Sanskrit bulletin has been made compulsory which can’t be accepted. The court should direct the Centre to give equal treatment to all 22 languages, recognized by the Constitution of India and ban the bulletin in Sanskrit”.
The petition came up for hearing before the bench comprising Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice MM Sundaresh on 18th January. While disposing of the petition, the bench said if the petitioner does not want to view the Sanskrit bulletin, he can either off the TV or move on to any other channels of his choice. We have more pressing issues to be heard. The petitioner can submit a memorandum to concerned authorities.
Welcoming the decision of the Madras High Court, Madurai Bench, VS Manian said that the so-called people who are against Sanskrit never questions the proliferation English News Channel, which is an alien language. They are objecting to Sanskrit, thinking it is the language of Brahmins. In Western countries, most Universities teach Sanskrit as they feel it is a repertoire of knowledge. It is the misunderstanding of Dravidian parties and it is still being propagated despite proofs to debunk their false claim. Ironically during the Dravidian rule, they did not do anything to promote the Tamil language or its rich literature. They are merely doing lip service and use it the main plank during polls to get votes. Tamil is dying slowly giving way for mushrooming of English medium schools which are run by them.
The first Sanskrit bulletin was broadcast in All India Radio (AIR) in 1974. Most of the Radio stations have started broadcasting ‘News in Sanskrit and many other languages” which are available on digital platforms. 20 minutes “Sanskrit Saptahiki” news magazine in AIR was launched some months back. A Chennai based you-tube channel runs Sanskrit news bulletin daily since last September. Its viewership is constantly going up claims Jai Krishna, a software professional turned journalist, who is the brain behind this move. He also has a Hindi bulletin for the north Indian readers of short duration.