Sanskrit to be an elective subject in schools

Greg Eichler geichle at
Sun Oct 9 17:08:35 UTC 1994

Dear Indologists,

I am an absolute novice in this area. Therefore, I can ask the following 
question without oo much embarassment:

Why do some Indians object to Sanskrit's being named the official 
language of India? Is it not 'better' than English, which is a totally 
alien tongue on the Subcontinent?

I appreciate your replies.

   Gregor-Paul Eichler              | geichle at
   Chair - Foreign Languages        | geichle at
   George Washington High School    | 72143.3621 at
   600 Thirty-Second Avenue         | (415) 750 - 8400, ext. 3317
   San Francisco, CA 94121          | (415) 861 - 2379 [home]

On Sun, 9 Oct 1994, dom wrote:

> Like the boy who cried "wolf", I doubt if I will be believed now, but
> here it is anyway:
> The Hindu, Bangalore, October 7th, 1994
> =======================================
> Make Sanskrit elective, SC tells CBSE
> >From Our Legal Correspondent
> New Delhi, Oct 6.
> The Supreme Court has directed the Central Board of Secondary Education to
> include Sanskrit as an elective subject in the syllabus so far as teaching
> in secondary schools is concerned.  Necessary amendment in the syllabus shll
> be made "within of three months."
> Mr. Justice B. L. Hansaria, who delivered the judgment, noted that "in view
> of the importance of Sanskrit in nurturing our cultural heritage, because of
> which even the official education policy has highlighted the need to study
> Sanskrit, making of Sanskrit alone as an elective subject -- while not
> conceding this status to Arabic and/or Persian -- would not in any way
> militate against the basic tenet of secularism."
> A Bench, which in cluded Mr. Justice Kuldip Singh, held that there was thus
> "no merit" in the objection raised by the CBSE that if it (CBSE) were to
> include Sanskrit as "an elective subject," it would have to make facilities
> available for learning of Arabic and Persian -- these also being classical
> languages.
> The two other objections raised by the CBSE -- inclusion of French and
> German also in the syllabus and of language like "Lepcha" -- did "not
> deserve any consideration for obvious reasons."
> The Bench adverted to the importance of Sanskrit and its role in national
> ethos and cultural heritage as highlighted in the roport of the Sanskrit
> Commission (1957) and also in the broad framework of the Education Policy
> formulated by the Centre in 1968 and 1986.
> There was "no doubt" that "teaching of Sanskrit alone as an elective subject
> can in no way be regarded as against secularism."  The constitution requires
> giving a fillip to Sanskrit because of what has been stated in Article 351,
> in which while dealing with the duty of the Union to promote the spread of
> Hindi, it had been provided that it would draw, whenever necessary or
> desirable, for its vocabulary, primarily on Sanskrit.  Encouragement to
> Sanskrit is also necessary because of it being one of the languages included
> in the Eighth Schedule.
> The bench was allowing a group of connected writ petitions seeking a
> direction to the CBSE to include Sanskrit in the syllabus of the Board as an
> elective subject in secondary schools.
> -- 
> Dr Dominik Wujastyk             Phone: +91-80-843-5320
> 12/1 Meghalaya,                        +91-80-843-5249
> Vajarahalli,                Phone/FAX: +91-80-663-3884 (not auto: phone first)
> Kanakapura Road,                email:  ucgadkw at (UK) and
> Bangalore 560 062                       dom at  (INDIA)
> --
> Currently on sabbatical leave from the Wellcome Institute, London.


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