The course of history was changed for India, when British government stopped government funding for Samskrita based traditional education and initiated European education introducing modern science, history and English language. The decision intended to strengthen the eco-system and sustain the rule of British over India was well thought out and was systematically rolled out. Today, even after 65 years of departure of British from India, support for English education is growing among Indians.
There is one more subtle effect of replacing the Indian system of education by the European education, often missed from analysis. That is the way Samskrita is learnt by Indians. Today, the teaching methodology adopted in universities to teach Samskrita is different approach compared to the traditional learning method. Samskrita scholars coming out of these two institutions have differences. The capabilities acquired by scholars from traditional, and official frameworks are same. It is not uncommon to see their approach and behavior being incompatible with each other. A systematic study between the differences in the two approaches and consequences thereof are to be taken up and corrective actions are to be taken as early as possible. Because the study of Samskrita is aimed at preserving the treasure of our heritage and guide the world.
The Samskrita education was weakened by British by diverting funds to European education that taught modern science, history and English. The education system present today is continuation of the system introduced by British and sustained by us in the independent India. The decision of British to change the education system was to strengthen an eco-system favorable to the British Empire and to sustain the rule of British over India. Post-independence, we believe that the same system can be used to correct and consolidate an eco-system favorable to India.
Primarily, the university is responsible for creating a framework for imparting knowledge and training, certification, and human resource management in the domain of Samskrita. Samskrita education should start at an early age in schools and continue throughout the schooling period. For those who have missed formal opportunities, alternate routes of learning have to be provided by the university in collaboration with contributors in social sector. These alternate routes could be in the form of evening classes, short-term courses, distance learning, and specialized full time and part time courses.
Today, Indians are accessing Samskrita through English. This is because, the education system introduces English systematically and the newer generation is less familiar with Indian languages, especially the Samskrita. The contents of Vedas, Smrithis, Puraanas are not accessed directly. Without English, it is almost impossible to have a fair understanding of our heritage. Universities have a significant role in creating an atmosphere where the contents of Samskrita would be accessed through Samskrita.
Samskrita University can also lead in providing content from Samskrita to other languages. At any given point of time, there should be authoritative scholars who are well versed in Vedas, Smrithis, Puraanas, Itihaasa, Dracaenas, and Matas. Universities should provide an institutional support, may be in the form of professors, to reorganize and present the contents to the general public in a systematic way.
A new class of Samskrita scholars rooted in the Samskrita tradition is needed to generate Samskrita content equivalent of modern science, technology and other advances. Is it not possible to understand bible or Quran through Samskrita if Upanishads are understood through English? Of course, care is to be taken while undertaking such a project. Probably, it would be prudent to wait little more time and take several other steps before planning these aspects.
India is facing language problem. There is no national language for India. There are confusions in rolling out a policy identifying the role of Indian languages, foreign languages, English and Samskrita. The confusions around language of instruction, link languages, official languages of the states, minority languages, and international languages may be clarified if Samskrita comes to prominence.
Immediately after independence, centers of excellence related to Samskrita were shut and there was a severe disruption in the eco-system and affected lives of Samskrita scholars. Alternate systems have been built but the rigor and the quality of rote learning is missing leading to logical consequences. Traditional social institutions are striving to sustain traditional framework facing additional hurdles associated with unofficial status and difficulty of resource mobilization. The need to integrate Samskrita learning systems is not felt and compartmentalized approach has set in even in ideation.
Veda was preserved from time immemorial – traditional Vedic schools have played a significant role in preserving the Vedas to the present generation. Even an ardent opponent of Vedic tradition would agree to the antiquity of Vedas and need to preserve it. There are Vedic teachers throughout India in nook and corners of the country facilitating rote learning of Vedas in a structured way. There is need to provide institutional support to them immediately. Samskrita University could take leadership in resolving the confusions preventing extension of government support to traditional Vedic schools without distorting them.