[Lgpolicy-list] [lg policy] India: Saffron group behind the 'No German' row moves to next target: private schools

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at gmail.com
Fri Nov 21 16:06:48 UTC 2014

Saffron group behind the 'No German' row moves to next target: private

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by FP Staff <http://www.firstpost.com/author/fp-staff>  Nov 21, 2014 09:28

After persuading the government to prohibit the teaching of German in
Kendriya Vidyalaya schools, the Sanskrit Shikshak Sangh (SSS) organisation
that initially filed the petition against policy in the Delhi High Court,
plans to extend the mandatory imposition of Sanskrit as a third language to
other schools as well.

The SSS, which is a body of Sanskrit teachers and scholars, had moved the
Delhi High Court against the Kendriya Vidyalaya's decision to teach German
as a third language.

If you look at the group's website <http://www.sanskritshikshaksangh.com/>,
they says that the association has "been striving hard for promotion,
advocacy and protection of Sanskrit and securing the interest of Sanskrit
teachers and students since September, 2009."

The group claims that previously they have ensured the inclusion of
Sanskrit in Central Teachers Eligibility Test (CTET), Haryana Teachers
Eligibility Test (HTET), Uttar Pradesh Teachers Eligibility Test (UPTET)

According to a report in the *Indian Express
the group's president D K Jha told the Indian Express, “Our next step will
be to ensure all other schools — government aided, unaided, public, private
— also follow our education policy and three language formula, and drop
foreign languages as the third language. They have to teach Sanskrit or any
modern Indian language instead. They will hopefully do it on their own now."

He added that if schools did not introduce Sanskrit, then the SSS would
write to the PM and the HRD minister Smriti Irani and also go to court.
[image: Representational image of students. AFP]

Representational image of students. AFP

In their petition to the Delhi High Court
the group had argued, "The action of the respondents (KVS and CBSE) would
cause irreparable damage to Sanskrit language and Indian culture and as a
result, the next generation would not learn Sanskrit and hardly have any
knowledge of Sanskrit and the rich ancient Indian culture.”

They also said that the decision was "in violation of the various
provisions of the Constitution of India as also violation of the various
Supreme Court judgements." The group was also miffed at the fact that
Sanskrit teachers were to be given training in German and had said in the
complaint that "foreign languages viz. German, French, Spanish, Russian and
Chinese language are being promoted at the cost of Sanskrit."

SSS has ambitious plans when it comes to implementing its Sanskrit as it
wants the learning of the subject to be extended beyond schools and even
into "courses like engineering, MBA, etc."

According to Jha, learning Sanskrit has many benefits, and he told the
paper that those who learn the language "never commits suicide because of
the values the subject inculcates in them." He said while other languages
intend to make money, Sanskrit teachers "people to earn fame and respect."

Jha also said that his group had protested to the government when "Navodaya
Vidyalayas" offered Urdu instead of Sanskrit
and had written to the HRD ministry against this practice.

The SSS also has support from another Sanskrit organisation, the Sanskrit
Bharati, which is run by Dinesh Kamath, an old RSS pracharak.  According to
the *Times of India
Sanskrit Bharati wants to implement Sanskrit as third language in all CBSE
schools till class XII.

Kamath told *TOI*, "How can you be Indian without knowing Sanskrit?" He
also discussed about a book that the group has published called 'Science in
Sanskrit.' Essentially it reads similar to Dinanath Batra's books; like
Batra's books, the Sanskrit Bharati's book talk about "test tube babies,
ships, aeroplanes and plastic surgery among other things in ancient India."

However Kamath chose not to comment on "PM Narendra Modi
statement that Ganesha's elephant-head was a surgical feat", notes the

Kamath meanwhile isn't just for Sanskrit, he's for a purity of Indian
languages and wants to get rid of all the Persian and Urdu words. 'Shuddh
Hindi' is an agenda that has been forwarded by many RSS-groups. Kamath told
TOI that he is unhappy that "words like darwaza (door) and akhbaar
(newspaper)" are used in daily context.

The RSS-pracharak also said that, "A stereotype has been created about
Sanskrit, of being inaccessible, tough and religious. Only five per cent of
Sanskrit literature is about Vedas and other texts. Rest is all about
physics, chemistry, astrology, astronomy and yoga. Sanskrit is a treasure
of knowledge."

Where the whole Sanskrit vs German controversy is concerned, *Firstpost*
Editor-in-chief R Jagannathan had pointed out in this article
while Irani was indeed right in getting German off the table since it
violates the National Education Policy,( the three language policy calls
for Hindi, English and the regional language of the state or a modern
Indian language to be taught), Sanskrit can't be forced on students.

He wrote, "Sanskrit cannot be popularised by shoving it down people’s
throats for the simple reason that people choose languages partly for their
utility in the job market, and Sanskrit currently does not have that

Also as *Firstpost* Editor G Pramod Kumar noted in this piece
even if one were to go by the three-language policy, why only "choose
Sanskrit and why not Tamil or Telugu."

He wrote, "The three language policy itself is flawed. Why should children
in non-Hindi states compulsorily learn Hindi? This has been a question that
politicians and people in states such as Tamil Nadu have been asking. Let
learning languages be voluntary."

Third language controversy aside, the fact is that both the SSS and
Sanskrit Bharati aren't just pushing for Sanskrit-learning, they are
pushing for language 'purity,' and of a specifically saffron hue.


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