Place of Sanskrit in India`s Educational Ethos

It is well-known that Sanskrit is a mother of all Indo-Aryan languages and it is this language in which our Vedas, Puranas and Upanishadas have been written and in which Kalidas, Bhavbuti, Banbhatta and Dandi wrote their classics. Teachings of Shankaracharya, Ramanuj, Madhwacharya, Nimbark and Vallabhacharya would not have been woven into the fabric of Indian culture if Sanskrit would not have been available to them as a medium of expressing their thoughts.

The report of the Sanskrit Commission (set up by the Government of India) which was submitted in 1957 speaks eloquently about the importance of Sanskrit. We do not propose to burden this judgment with all that was said by the Commission in this regard. It would be enough for our purpose if we take note of some passages finding place in the report which highlight the quality, substance, content and strength of Sanskrit. At page 71 of the report it has been mentioned that Sanskrit is one of the greatest languages’ of the world and it is the classical language par excellence not only of India but of a good part of Asia as well. At page 73 the report states that the Indian people and the Indian civilisation were born, so to say, in the lap of Sanskrit and it went “hand in hand with the historical development of the Indian people, and gave the noblest expression to their mind and culture which has come down to our day as an inheritance of priceless order for India, nay, for the entire world”. The report further speaks at page 74 about the “great mental and spiritual link” of Sanskrit and of it being the elder sister of Greek and Latin, and cousin of English, French and Russian.

There is no need to dilate on the importance of Sanskrit further in our national ethos in view of what was stated by no less a person than the first Prime Minister of the country, Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru, in which regard, which is as below:

If I was asked what is the greatest treasure, which India possesses and what is her finest heritage, I would answer unhesitatingly – it is the Sanskrit language and literature, and all that it contains. This is a magnificant inheritance, and so long as this endures and influences the life of our people, so long the basic genius of India will continue.

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