As the controversy over the NDA government’s decision to replace German with Sanskrit as the third language in Kendriya Vidyalaya schools rages, a Congress leader has now thrown his weight behind Sanskrit. Former Member of Parliament from Delhi Mahabal Mishra has said that Sanskrit should be taught as a mandatory subject at least till Class X.
Mishra, a patron of the Sanskrit Shikshak Sangh (SSS) — the group that took the language issue to court and prompted the HRD Ministry’s decision — held a meeting of the organisation on Sunday to “discuss the future strategy”.
As per details of the meeting, which were written down by SSS president D K Jha, Mishra congratulated the Sangh for “the victory of Sanskrit as a third language in the Delhi High Court while assuring full cooperation in the fight for the language”. According to the details, Mishra also said that if Sanskrit is not taught in schools in the country, “Indian culture will die out”.
When contacted, Mishra told The Indian Express that he would take up the matter in all relevant forums.
“Yes, as the sanrakshak (patron) of the SSS, I called for a meeting today where we discussed the future course of action to ensure Sanskrit is taught to children. Indian culture and tradition are empty without Sanskrit; it glues us all together. I believe the language should be made compulsory at least till Class X. How the government does it is up to them. I am not talking to any government or political party. I am talking as a citizen. I will raise the issue wherever and whenever I can at appropriate forums,” Mishra, who has been a patron for the past few years, said.
However, he did not comment on the issue of German being scrapped as the third language in KVs. He said that he wasn’t against any language, but that he firmly believed Sanskrit should be taught in the country. He also said the “ills prevalent in our society” will not end till Sanskrit is taught on a wide scale. Sunday’s meeting was held at Mishra’s residence.
Incidentally, while Sanskrit was the mandatory third language in KVs since 2001, it was when Mishra’s party was in power at the Centre that German was introduced as an alternative in 2010-11.
The Indian Express had earlier reported how the SSS had said that its next move would be to make all other schools drop foreign languages as the third language.
According to Jha, Mishra also assured that he would garner all possible support from his party on the issue.
The SSS, an umbrella body of Sanskrit teachers and scholars, had earlier moved the Delhi High Court alleging that the Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan’s decision to introduce German as a third language in place of Sanskrit was against the education policy and the three language formula. The three language formula states that schools ought to teach Hindi, English and one modern Indian language.
The controversy erupted when, on October 27, the Board of Governors of the KVS, headed by HRD Minister Smriti Irani, decided that “teaching German as an option to Sanskrit will be discontinued forthwith”. German has been kept as an additional subject/hobby class for students. The matter is now with the Supreme Court, which has asked the Centre to consider not replacing German with Sanskrit in the middle of the current academic session and instead implement the decision from next year.