Former Chief Election Commissioner Mr. Gopalaswami once said, “There were many texts in Sanskrit on subjects like medicine, mathematics, architecture and other sciences. We would be able to access this knowledge only if we could understand the language. Whatever knowledge comes out of it, if it is for the common good, there is nothing wrong in putting it to use”. He was speaking on inclusion of Sanskrit in our education system.
Sanskrit, a language through which the Vedas and Upanishads found expression is now mischievously classified as a language of ‘Hindus’.Urdu, which has immensely contributed to the cultural pluralism and richness of this country is dubbed as language of Muslims. Arabic has also been treated as a language of Muslims just because of the fact that it originated in a land where Islam is the predominant religion. Why should such a discrimination be made at all? Since we all are Bharatvaasis, we have the same ancestors in our blood. Our ancestors are the ones who wrote these wise scriptures, discovered such wonders and passed them on for the future generations. When our ancestral pool is the same, why shouldn’t all of us learn Sanskrit? Let us take a look at a couple of Muslim schools in Kerala which is setting a path for teaching and learning Sanskrit.
According to Rasiya Mohammed Kutty, who is fondly called 'Rasiya teacher' by her students,language is common treasure of mankind. Her students’ ages range from 73years old to young Muslim girls who attend the class wearing hijabs.As of now, she has around hundred students at her teacher’s training Center in Edappal of Malapuram district, Kerala, learning basics of Sanskrit.The Institute named -Mother’s Institute-, run by her husband Mohammed Kutty, has now become a major destination of language learners in the city premises where Rasiya teacher is also giving tuition for Arabic and English as well. “For me, knowledge is primary. Everything else is secondary. Everyone can learn anything, if he/ she is passionate about it,” Rasiya says.
Rasiya started learning Sanskrit in 2012, after a group of Viswa Sanskrit Prathishthan volunteers introduced a Sanskrit learning course to her. She was interested in writing poems. Reading many ancient Malayalam poems, having a huge influence of Sanskrit in it, attracted her towards Sanskrit. She joined the Association Montessori International and got a chance to take the Sanskrit learning course.
She completed the course in a period of two years and started teaching its preliminary level Praveshika at her 'Mothers' Institute.' She believes that empowerment of the society can be attained through education. Her two daughters are also well-versed in Sanskrit.
Another school which is proving that learning Sanskrit is not bound by religion, caste, creed or sex, too is in Kerala. Mayannur Mappilla Vidyalaya in Mayannur, Thrissur Dist., Kerala teaches Sanskrit to students from class V onwards. Here the teachers are Muslims. The students too are Muslims. They hope to learn Sanskrit well and get scholarships in future. They are determined to learn more about Indian culture and they state that learning Sanskrit is not at all difficult. In fact DD Sanskrit carried a news report (Vaarthanaamavali) about this school wherein a student Benne Fathima is seen speaking Sanskrit very fluently.
Today anybody with access to the Internet can learn Sanskrit. There are umpteen online courses which teach everyone the language at an easy pace. When people living abroad can learn Sanskrit and try to even speak it fluently, what is stopping us Indians from learning this perfect language, which has no equal? Many of our Indian languages have Sanskrit as their root language and so it would not be difficult for us to pick it up once again. The Government too should encourage Sanskrit in schools and colleges. For those who are still stuck to the narrative that this would mean Saffronization of the education system, we would like to say just one thing - Today people all over the world want to learn Sanskrit and understand the treasures in our Scriptures like the Vedas. Why shouldn’t we too be able to understand the Vedas properly and discover more from them? It is a known fact that NASA too wants to exploit the knowledge of our scriptures. Why get tangled in differences like religion, castes and regions – Learn Sanskrit and improve your mind, your knowledge, and above all, your life itself.