So much time and bytes are wasted over languages and books that are respected already. (And yet I throw my own two cents in the mix)
Everyone in all direction on social media behaves with so much sensitivity, it feels like the entire virtual world is a hormone raging teenager. It is strange, aren’t all of us desensitized from real problems with the overload of news, debates, discussions and comments?
Here is the link to my Hindi article on BBC and below is the same content in English.
The solidarity of languages
The merits of two remarkably historical languages have been under a lot of scrutiny, especially on Indian social media since past few days.
Dr. Pratiksha Thanki, Author and Researcher
As the hoopla was all about Sanskrit and German, willingly or unwillingly Germany was also involved in the discussion. Ironically, if any country outside India cares for Sanskrit enough, it has got to be Germany. That’s where one finds Bhagvad Gita in German even on streets of Berlin along with their respected German philosophical and literary works, Sanskrit-German dictionaries are easily available and German Sanskrit scholars are actively publishing their work. The snoozing Sanskrit language gets all kinds of academic attention possible in the European power house.
And yet, it was the Indian HRD ministry’s decision to first include German in the 3 language plan and then replacing it with Sanskrit or an optional Indian language (which was the original status before 2011 anyway) that has brought the matter so much attention. The Germans have already come up with the new proposal to keep it for higher secondary classes.
As an Indian living in Germany, the entire debate seems a bit crooked. It’s a diplomatic change, and eventually any student from India will be free to learn any and as many languages he or she wants to, then why is it being turned into such a big issue?
Let’s be straightforward about one thing. Germany has a huge number of industries, a hopeful job market and reputed universities that don’t burden you with never-ending student loans. An increasing likability, growing away from the shadows of the mid20th century, makes Germany a much more attractive destination. The condition for qualified people to get work in German is: One needs to learn German. Whether you learn it as a compulsory subject in schools of your country or not, isn’t their problem.
Following German media makes one think that crossing the barrier of German language would definitely create a lot more jobs for Indians than Sanskrit would ever do. For that one just has to look at the spread of German firms even in India.
The utility of a language is always debatable. And if a pros and con list is made, German will turn out to be a more practical choice of the two if only looking from the employment point of view. Yet, it never hurts to pick up an extra language. The
‘Summer School of Spoken Sanskrit’ in Heidelberg definitely seems to know the benefits of that.
The intention of promoting Sanskrit is to honour the language of India’s heritage. It is the language of spirituality for a big part of the world as well. Sanskrit may not be too active, but it lives on in various forms of Indian languages anyway. Respecting your own language is a concept Germans definitely understand.
Goethe was a fan of Kalidasa. And he left behind some brilliant quotations for those writing papers on Kalidasa today, in any language. Going by the direction of the tide, a lot of students will need to brush up on both these literary giants. Crude opinions don’t hamper with the solidary that exists between the languages for centuries, they are not competitors. After all, ‘Sanskrit and German’ sounds much better than ‘Sanskrit vs. German’.