The VHP wants to make Sanskrit compulsory in schools and wants the French and German to be discontinued. There are many reasons this is a bad idea

Plugging Sanskrit at the Cost of German & Frenchgm नमस् करोमि, AU REVOIR, AUF WIEDERSEHEN

  1. Most educated Indians are at least slightly familiar with the second and the third terms in this headline; forms of farewell in French and German. We may be less familiar with the first – नमस् करोमि – which is Sanskrit for the more commonly used नमस्कार. This is unfortunate. We as Indians should be familiar with all three terms; as aware of our own heritage as we are of languages widely spoken around the world.
  2. However if the VHP has its way, we Indians will be familiar only with नमस् करोमि , and no longer have the option of knowing how to say Goodbye in French or German. So do we have to say “Au Revoir” and “Auf Wiedersehen” to learning languages that will be of significant use in this ever-shrinking, ever-more-connected global community?
  3. Devimahatmya Sanskrit MS Nepal 11c नमस् करोमि, AU REVOIR, AUF WIEDERSEHENVishwa Hindu Parishad leader Ashok Singhal said yesterday that Sanskrit should be made compulsory in schools. Recently, the HRD ministry has removed German as the third language from Kendriya Vidyalaya (KV) curriculums. Now Sanskrit Bharati, an RSS outfit wants that the same be done in all CBSE affiliated schools and that Sanskrit should be made compulsory till Class 12. According to Singhal, one “foreign language” – English is enough. (Source – The Hindu)
  4. Over the ages, Sanskrit has been the language of ancient religious texts; mainly Brahminical texts. Today it is valued as a sacred or liturgical language (a language cultivated for religious reasons by people who speak another language in their daily life) and is studied by academicians around the world.
  5. World language map 1 1024x720 नमस् करोमि, AU REVOIR, AUF WIEDERSEHENHowever, according to the 2001 census, 14,135 people in India said that Sanskrit is their mother or native tongue. On the other hand there are 73.8 million native speakers of French in the world and about a 100 million people in the world, whose first language is German.
  6. Sanskrit has been the language of metaphysics; exclusivity has been its essence and Sanskrit was never a language of day to day usage. It was used to exclude vast sections of society determined by caste and gender; a ‘high’ language that worked like a secret code to exclude Dalits and women. (Source –
  7. Arguably, Sanskrit has been used as a tool for exclusion and oppression of the disenfranchised sections of society for a very long time. There is a profound irony in now imposing this language upon the masses. Its sudden desirability and recent attempts to promote it forcibly smacks of jingoism with religious rather than nationalistic overtones that again seek to promote an exclusivist agenda.
  8. So what next? Will children be learning traditional or pseudo sciences instead of keeping abreast with scientific advancements that the world embraces? Do we have to envisage a possible future where we will be forced to visit unregulated Ayurved practitioners instead receiving medical care of a standard the rest of the world has access to?
  9. No one is saying that people should not have access to Sanskrit learning, Vedic Maths, ancient healing practices and traditional learning of all types. What is objectionable is preventing access to other languages and forms of knowledge. Shouldn’t the currency and application of Sanskrit vis a vis foreign languages some bearing on what Indian children learn in school today?
  10. More importantly, should Indian children have the option of choosing? And how about adding the option of learning Mandarin while we’re at it? This way we can have even more of an advantage over our dear neighbours – in addition to the advantage that the other ‘foreign’ language English gives us, that is….

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