News about the Bangalore Conference

Madhav Deshpande mmdesh at
Sun Jan 5 22:40:38 UTC 1997

Here is the first news report about the Bangalore conference from The
Hindu of Chennai (=Madras):

PM stresses promotion of Sanskrit 

               Date: 05-01-1997 :: Pg: 08 ::
               Col: a 

               From Our Special

               BANGALORE, Jan. 4. 

               The belief that Sanskrit is the language of the learned and
something devoid of any importance in practical life is a product of
misconceptions and to some extent ignorance of the capabilities of the language,
the Prime Minister, Mr. H. D. Deve Gowda, said here today. 

               Mr. Gowda said Sanskrit once attracted the attention of
foreign scholars because of the philosophical truth contained in its
literature. Today it was the scientific material contained in the old Sanskrit
treatises that attracted the attention of the world's scientific community. 

               Mr. Gowda, who was inaugurating the tenth World Sanskrit
Conference, organised by the Union Ministry of Human Resource
Development, Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan, and Taralabalu Kendra,
commended the progress in the field of Sanskrit studies and said still it
was worthwhile to focus attention on promoting the study of Sanskrit more
effectively, taking full advantage of the facilities that are available due to
rapid advances in the field of science and technology. 

               The Prime Minister was happy that the conference was being
held in the City. Karnataka had made its own special contribution to
the study of Sanskrit, and added there was one village in the State
where Sanskrit was the main language of the inhabitants, he said. 

               Mr. Gowda expressed satisfaction that the idea of holding
international conferences on Sanskrit, which was initiated by the
Sansthan, had become firmly rooted and led to the establishment of links with
countries taking active interest in Sanskrit studies. He was confident that
efforts would be made at the conference to further strengthen these

               Presiding over the inaugural session, the Union Human
Resource Development Minister, Mr. S. R. Bommai, said it was a
matter of satisfaction that interest in the study of Sanskrit had
increased all over the world during the past 25 years. The country was, 
therefore, dutybound to assist in the development of Sanskrit studies
abroad. At the same time India was conscious that it had a lot to learn
from the work of scholars in other countries, he added. 

               The Chief Minister, Mr. J. H. Patel, who released a few
publications and a souvenir, said Sanskrit was one language which had reached
its heights in thinking about science. Now it was not in use. Any language
not in use by the people would have a natural death. ``But we have to
search for the great treasure we had in the past,'' he said. 

               In his keynote address, Prof. R. K. Sharma, president,
International Association of Sanskrit Studies, said that on account of
dedicated and selfless services of distinguished scholars, the Sanskrit
sastric tradition was still alive in the country. ``It is our duty to ensure that
this sastric tradition continues for ever'', he added. 

               In his introductory remarks, Dr. Shivamurthy Swamiji of
Taralabalu, who is the honarary president of the organising committee, said it
was not proper to compare Sanskrit with Greek and Latin. Even today, in
certain parts of the country such as Kashi, people conversant with Sanskrit
could be found. Those who thought Sanskrit was dead were denying
themselves the benefit of the treasurehouse of knowledge. 

               The swamiji urged the Prime Minister to see that the Chairs
in Sanskrit in western countries were not closed for financial reasons. 

               Dr. K. P. A. Menon gave an introduction to the publications
released on the occasion. 

               Mr. P. R. Dasgupta, Union Education Secretary, in his
welcome address, mentioned the steps taken to promote Sanskrit study such as 
modernisation of traditional samskrit patashalas and special scheme to
preserve the glorious oral traditions of vedic recitation. 

               A large number of delegates to the conference, who could
not gain entry to the venue of the inaugural session, complained of poor
arrangements right from the time they landed in the city from various parts of
the country. 

               After paying the delegates' fee and charges for hotel rooms
and tour in advance, they found that no arrangement had been made for
their accommodation or for food, they complained. Besides they
were also treated rudely by the organisers and the security personnel
at the Vidhana Soudha, the venue of the inaugural session. 

               Even the buses to transport them to Vidhana Soudha, failed
to turn up on time and when they reached the venue, the doors had been
closed forcing them to watch the proceedings on close circuit TV.

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