Ever since independence, India has been a good, but complex dominion, with several States. After we opted for linguistic division and reorganization of States, the number of States has increased, and the potential for further division continues to reign How we can strengthen the integrity of our Nation while continuing to preserve the Federal system, is thus a significant challenge.
A peep into history reveals that our country has always been divided by language, food habits, dress, and customs. And yet, from the Himalayas to Kanyakumari, we have embodied and displayed the same ancient culture. How has this been achieved?
The primary factor behind our cultural unity is the treasure of cultural wisdom and the abundance of literature we had evolved right from prehistoric times, bequeathed and cherished with fidelity and tenacity over countless generations. The literary treasure we have is documented in Sanskrit, which was also once the official inter-province and inter-kingdom medium for free communication. It served as the one strong National thread, uniting the people as a huge multi-splendoured Nation, fostering National fondness and cohesion. It is this integrity that Macaulay sought to undermine and destroy by eulogizing English in place of Sanskrit. While he strove to make a dent in our cultural unity, he could not, however, succeed in disintegrating it.
Sanskrit has withstood the onslaughts and inroads of time, thanks to its precision and impeccable structure and integration. Such a resilient vehicle of ideas was employed by spirituo-philosophical and secular writers alike. In fact, all our mathematical, scientific, and medical treatises are presented in Sanskrit poetry. The time has come when people must be infused with National pride arising from the knowledge of our own enviable hoary achievements in science, mathematics and other domains. The earlier we are able to instil a proper insight into our cultural excellence, in which Sanskrit plays a dominant role, the better for the country as well as its intelligentia and leaders.
Values were evolved in this land at a time when ‘religion’ was not there on the earth. All our values, when rightly exposed, are bound to evoke emotional persuasion and rational compulsion from the listener and reader. In teaching Sanskrit and our cultural values, neither God nor religion need be brought in at all.
The need to propagate and popularise Sanskrit is thus paramount. Any step in this direction is certainly welcome by all means. The resistance or the effort to make a controversy in the matter is unfortunate. This is a time when all concerned should think of India, with its distinguished past and the prospect of preserving our integrity and cultural unity and elegance for all times to come.
Role of Government in this great mission
Every time a new Government is installed, it is an indisputable opportunity to implement their policies and principles. Or else their installation would have no meaning. Under democratic process, the party elected to power has the freedom to think the way they do and implement their policies and procedures, considering the welfare of the Nation and the cohesion of the people. Rather than meeting every move with reluctance and suspicion, everyone must have the prudence and patience to encourage the wish and will of the Government. After all any Government takes over with the mandate the people give them through the established democratic process.
As part of this emergent process, if they feel like introducing Sanskrit in their own Schools, it is undemocratic and unwise to impede the programme.
If the Government feels promotion of Sanskrit in Kendriya Vidyalaya is a right National step in deepening and strengthening the educational mission of the land, making it an artful, cultural and National endeavour, it should be greeted by one and all.
Safeguards to be ensured
The only point to be remembered in the matter is that any new step, in content and procedure, should be to ensure the welfare and progress of the students in their acquisition of knowledge. In the name of any new policy or principle, students and their learning should not be impeded. Thus, the introduction should be timed and pursued in a manner not to disturb their smooth study, but to facilitate it creditably.
Academic propriety and safety of both students and teachers must receive due attention in the matter. It is a legitimate question any time in independent India as to whether our students should run after foreign languages, or the first priority should be our own language, especially when Sanskrit has so much to inculcate National values imbuing National pride and identity are such as to evoke constantly emotional persuasion and rational compulsion.