For these Nerul students, there is no controversy over learning Sanskrit

Written By Unknown on Minggu, 21 Desember 2014 | 22.23

While the government toys with the idea of making Sanskrit a compulsory subject in schools, the 25 boarders of the Ved Pathshala located on the SIES College campus in Nerul, are oblivious to controversy. Guided by Sunder Sharma, principal of the Ved Institute, the boys that reside in a hostel on the campus, spend a good three hours a day, in two shifts, mastering the hymns and texts of the rigveda, yajurveda and samarveda.

Irrespective of whether Sanskrit is obligatory or not, these boarders start learning it from the time they enrol. Anand Iyer, a Class X student from Tamil Nadu, can read, write and speak Sanskrit. "As an ancient Indian language, we take pride in learning it. What is the fuss about," he asks. Sunder admits that Sanskrit is difficult to master, especially speaking as impeccable Sanskrit speech comes only with regular practice. He said learning Sanskrit should not be forced, the quest should come from within. "Sanskrit is our culture, and if we don't try to keep it alive, it will be forgotten," he added.

The Ved Pathshala, which was set up in 2003, is part of curriculum for the students, who study at the nearby State Bank Public School. Every day, they gather on the third-floor of their residence, a bare but large and airy room, with Sunder, who guides them with diction and pronunciation. "The boys come from all over—Nashik, Pune, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, but share a uniform love for Sanskrit. At the end of each academic year, ved examinations are held before they return home for a 40-day summer break," explained Sunder. "The subject controversy doesn't affect these boys as they have accepted that learning Sanskrit is part of their curriculum, so, in a way, they are quite indifferent to it," he said.

"I enjoy learning Sanskrit, since it is culturally significant," said Alok Utpat, a Class III student from Pune. Likewise, a Class I student, Vedant Joshi, from Pune said he is just beginning to learn the vedas, but hopefully, in a few years, he should be able to master them. "Since I am new to the language, it is a bit tough, but that is the case with most of the younger boys. As time passes, we get better," he said. Sanokar Kulkarni, also a class I student from Pune, has never dabbled in Sanskrit before, but the eagerness shown by the older boys is encouraging for him.

Sunder said the classes are structured and reciting vedas aloud helps the kids remember the sequence as well as the emphasis on certain words in the verses. Kaushik Kaveri from Sangli, a Class IV student, said regular practice is a must to gain better understanding of Sanskrit. "Three hours may seem like a long time, but it's basically recitals. Once we get used to it, the hours pass quickly," he said. Pathshala,schools,sanskrit,Government

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