'Sanskrit in Kendriya Vidyalayas' sparks debate

'Sanskrit in Kendriya Vidyalayas' sparks debate
'Sanskrit in Kendriya Vidyalayas' sparks debate
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The News Minute | November 15, 2014 | 5:08 PM IST

The Union HRD ministry’s decision to replace German with Sanskrit as the third language of teaching in Kendriya Vidyalayas has attracted significant attention and differing views.

Defending the move, HRD minister Smriti Irani had earlier said that the MoU agreement between the KVS and Goethe Institute-Max Mueller Bhawan in 2011 violated the “constitutional rights” of the child and the state. 

The Karnataka governor has stated that teaching the Vedas and Sanskrit in schools will lead to less “heinous crimes against children”.   

The three language policy in use by schools makes English and Hindi mandatory along with a third language. Three months prior to their examinations, this decision affects 68,000 students across Kendra Vidalayas with them being asked to study German for a “hobby” if they wish to. 

The debate seems to centre around the usability of the language in current times against losing a language that is culturally significant, and which has spawned many others. 

According to Arushi Bedi, a former student of Kendriya Vidyalaya at Panchmarhi, Madhya Pradesh, “While I did study Sanskrit for 3 years in school, I can’t say that it has added to my education or knowledge in any manner. I understand that it has historical significance but in our day and age it doesn’t have practical applications”.   

Shamir Reuben, another former student of the KV at Coimbatore seems to echo the same opinion. “Although I was made to understand the relevance and importance of Sanskrit in school, I didn't really feel any critical value addition when it came to applying theory to practice”, he says.

When The News Minute took to twitter, these were some of the responses we got.

Sridhar Krishna ‏@sridharkswamy: I mastered integration and differentiation using it. I have no great use for it now but I can’t fault mathematics for it. 

@vbpulla: A British school teaches Sanskrit to students and says Sanskrit improves children with speech difficulties and that its good for child development.

@vishaldwivedi6: I learnt Sanskrit. It's the gateway to our ancient knowledge and culture.

 ‏@shrinivassg: The only use was boosting up my Board exam total. And it was one line on my CV till more important things came in. 

‏@ram_k27: Vishnu sahasranamam and other shloka come in handy during every avenue avattam or some tam brahm mantra festival. 

 ‏@sawhneynikhil: I learnt no use of the language, just as I didn’t with science, history geography etc

@Vinodh_V: I did. The subject is an easy pick to score maximum marks. It helped a bit in understanding sandhya vandanam and slokas. No use now.

 @srih2481: Sanskrit is a language that's truly Indian, take pride in the fact that you studied it.

 @shishirjojo: I did till class 5th.Its important and a foundation for almost all regional languages. It’s our golden heritage.

@vsengupta: The knowledge of a language is often, like virtue, its own reward. #Sanskrit 

 ‏@ArseneSidekick: If the primary purpose of a language is to enhance social rigidities and exclusivity, it will die its own death.

Ultimately, this move by the HRD ministry seems to be controversial keeping in mind the reactions in the media and the myriad of opinions we received on twitter.

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