[Advaita-l] sanskrit and its revival - institutional support

narayan iyer z1e1b1r1a at yahoo.com
Tue Sep 23 00:39:07 CDT 2008


I thank all the members who have contributed significantly to the thread "Sankara Mutt".  If I had given the impression of my unwillingness to learn sanskrit, I am sorry I conveyed the wrong message.  I am an admirer of sanskrit and was unfortunate not to have learnt Ssnskrit in my school days.  I would like to narrate the following few incidences to highlight the plight of Sanskrit teachers which frustrates me.

1. There was a slight increase in awareness of sanskrit when the previous NDA govt. introduced Jyotish etc. in curriculum.  However, within a year matters changed to worse.

2. Private school and colleges whose grants were reduced started axing sanskrit teachers.  Some Sanskrit teachers who also knew to teach other languages like Hindi, Gujarati etc. were retained if there was a vacancy in the allied subject.  But most sanskrit teachers had to find alterate jobs.  Many of the private schools and colleges which axed the sanskrit teachers did not reduce the budget outlay on items like gymnasium or extra-curricular activities, in fact some institutions even increased the spending.

3. Some of the now ex-sanskrit teachers were trying alternative vocations like temple priestshood etc but now there is a fierce competition in that field sometimes resulting in animosity.  Needless to say these priests have to dance to the tunes of the trustees, howsoever whimsical they are.

4. Cheap chinese imports have crippled Surat's textile industry and the meagre spendings of puja, havan etc. by private individuals have dried up, further adding to the miseries of the now ex-sanskrit teachers.  

5. One of the sanskrit teachers I know is a direct descendent of the priestly community of Dwaraka and his share for the entire year is one day's offerring at the Sri Krishna temple dwaraka by the devotees.  One of the unemployed is reported to be M.A. in sanskrit gold medalist, though I do not know personally if it is true or not.

6. Local population couldnt care less because Sanskrit is brahmin hegemony and brahmins scarely constitute 5% of  population.

7. Most of the unemployed sanskrit teachers would not accept charity or cash dole-outs out of self-respect.  Some ex-sanskrit teachers are now working in factories etc. on casual/daily basis and sometimes in night-shifts etc.

8. How do I expect them to do sandhya-vandana, swadhayaya etc. and teach shastras to interesed persons like me?

The tragedy is that there is no institutional support to these persons who thought doing degree/post-degree course in sanskrit was a good idea.  The efforts, if any, made by institutions like Sankara Mutt to revive sanskrit is not visible at least in this part of India.  Sometimes I feel that our traditions and veda knowledge can be sustained only NRIs

Thank you all for taking time to ponder over these matters



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