September 19, 2019
Samskrita Bharati, a voluntary registered body, has been working to revive Sanskrit in India and clear misconceptions about the language.
Samskrita Bharati is a voluntary organisation formed in1981 by Chamu Krishna Sastry, a scholar from Tirupati Sanskrit College with five colleagues. It was registered in 1995 with headquarters in New Delhi and aims to revive Sanskrit as a spoken language in India.
Anantha Kalyanakrishnan, the president of its Tamil Nadu chapter tells The Covaipost, “It is a common misconception that Sanskrit texts are mostly religion-oriented. Actually only 5% is religion while 95% is sciences like Ayurveda, Yoga, Medicine, Chemistry, Physics, Construction, Engineering, Architecture and other subjects. It was spoken in India until 300 years ago, but was eased out by the British and then in 1967 by the ruling DMK government who abolished Sanskrit teachers in government schools. However some private schools continued it.”
The Samskrita Bharati has an initial ten-day course that helps students speak basic Sanskrit which is entirely free. This is done with stories and visual study. “Next we have a two year correspondence course with written exams every six months. Each six month course costs Rs.300 but contact classes are all free. We use syllabi prepared by Sanskrit scholars. The course has graded ranking of Pravesha (entrance), Parichaya( introduction), Shiksha (education) and Kovida (scholar). The syllabus is updated annually and this course can help students do graduate courses in Sanskrit,” adds Kalyanakrishnan.
He adds that regular personal attendance classes are held in major cities of Tamil Nadu. In Coimbatore Samskrita Bharati’s publications office is at Dr. Rajendra Prasad Road, Tatabad. They also have a residential school for students at Mahadanapuram in Karur town.
Kalyanakrishan says, “Admission is open to all, irrespective of caste. We also urge those who qualify to continue as teachers, volunteers or coordinators with Samskrita Bharati. Even I am no scholar, but a retired officer of the customs department who learnt Sanskrit here and later graduated in it. This organisation has removed the prejudice that Sanskrit is only for Brahmins. For example our student, a fisherman’s daughter with an MA Sanskrit, is working at the Sarada College in Kanyakumari.”
He says that the organisation, which has its global office at San Jose, California, currently has thousands of volunteers and members.
Samskrita Bharati is also organising a global meet on November 9, 10 and 11 this year, at New Delhi called Vishwa Samskrita Mela, where nearly 3000 people will meet and interact in Sanskrit.
Sanskrit, belonging to the Indo-Aryan family of languages is around 3,500 years old and is written in the Devanagari script. It is the root language for nearly 22 modern Indian languages which also use the same Devanagari script.