As a debate rages over the government’s decision to do away with the study of German as a third language in Kendriya Vidyalayas and replace it with Sanskrit, Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti on Saturday took the argument further when she said Sanskrit could, in course of time, replace English as a link language which everyone in India would understand.
She was speaking at the concluding session of a three-day Jal Manthan — dialogue on water issues — organised by her ministry, and attended by hundreds of experts, activists and member of civil society organisations working on issues related to water. Her remarks came in the context of repeated requests from the audience that speakers should speak in Hindi so that everyone present could understand.
“This problem of some people not able to follow what is being said in English is going to remain for some time. There are many people in this hall who genuinely cannot express themselves in Hindi,” she said when her time came to speak.
“This problem will go away only when we adopt Sanskrit as the link language. Sanskrit is a truly national language. In every village of India, you will find two or three people who are extremely knowledgeable about Sanskrit. The same cannot be said of English. The fact is that there are more people in India who can speak and understand Sanskrit than people who can speak or understand English,” she said amidst applause from the audience.
“But till such time that Sanskrit becomes a popular and commonly spoken language, we will have to depend on English. It should only be a matter of time,” she said.
Bharti, who is Minister for Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, also made a remark about cow protection. Referring to a conversation she had with one of the activists present, she said she was told that the efforts to clean Ganga and conserve water would naturally lead to protection of cows as well.
“These are related processes,” she said.
She announced the launch of a programme where one water-scarce village in each district of the country would be selected and turned into a water self-sufficient village through application of relevant methods. She said 2015 would be observed as the Water Conservation Year.