Gone are the days when Sanskrit was the subject taught only in schools or only to those seeking to be an academician. Considering the hidden treasures in the language, there have been discussions to incorporate the language as a subject in engineering colleges including the IITs. The proposal came early this month when the prior Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani requested the 18 IITs to offer Sanskrit as an elective subject. It has been told that in reply to government’s request a panel was set up headed by former CEC (Chief Election Commissioner) N. Gopalaswami. He suggested that premier engineering colleges can help in the study of science and technology as reflected in Sanskrit.
“Atharavaveda, Vaisheshika Darshana etc. are, it is acknowledged, the treasure house of scientific concepts which are hitherto studied from science point of view. There are hundreds of works like Sidhanta Shiromani, Vriksha Ayurveda, Upavana Vinoda, Mayamatam, etc. to name a few, which are of great relevance in the context of research and innovation”, the former CEC-led report stated.
Though the advise to include Sanskrit was first given and initiated by BJP leader Atal Vihari Bajpayee, it was only earlier this year that Smriti Irani gave strong recommendations to make Sanskrit cells in the colleges in furtherance of the 10-year road map for promotion of Sanskrit as prepared by CEC. Not only IITs, even NITs, IISERs and central universities have also been entrusted the job of promoting Sanskrit.
It has been reported that the students would be awarded credits for studying Sanskrit. Also the students must be encouraged to take up internships in Sanskrit Institutions for credits by these institutes. Studying Sanskrit would help in understanding the knowledge that our ancient experts in Science and Technology possessed.
Where IIT-Kharagpur is already in the process of setting up a centre to study science and technology in Sanskrit making “significant strides in selecting a faculty in Sanskrit Literature with expertise and international exposure in inter-disciplinary study of Sanskrit”, IIT Bhubaneswar is planning to introduce it as a Breadth subject. IIT Roorkee also plans on to teach Science and Technology in Sanskrit. Its Director Pradipta Banerji said “Sanskrit may become a credit course if there is enough excitement among students for UG/PG. The Sanskrit club we introduced a year ago is very popular.”
While it all came as a result of replacing German as a third language being taught in Kendriya Vidyalayas, much good can be achieved with proper guidelines, implementation and real dedication from students as well as teachers.