While it is known that its programmes are deeply rooted in classical knowledge, Delhi University’s Department of Sanskrit has introduced stress management, acting and fashion courses to ensure students keep up with the demands of the job market today.
“Some of the major fields that Sanskrit students join as a career include teaching, research and civil services, but subjects such as library science, law, water conservation, archaeology, environmental science and media are also becoming the preferred choice of Sanskrit students,” says Professor Mithilesh Chaturvedi, head of the department.
According to Yuvraj Bhattarai, who is pursuing his master’s in the subject, “The relevance and importance of Sanskrit is not just restricted to culture and academics. It is much more than that and the new undergraduate degree is an example of that. Introduction of concepts such as yoga, Vedas, vaastu shastra, astrology, ayurveda and drama shows that its not just about learning the language or literature but also about tracing and studying the connection between various areas and Sanskrit.”
Bhattarai, who was interested in the subject since childhood, studied Sanskrit in school at the Capital’s Sharda Devi Sanskrit Vidyapeeth followed by a bachelor’s degree in the subject from Lal Bahadur Shastri Rashtriya Sanskrit Vidyapeeth. He now plans to go for the NET junior research fellowship and hopes to go to Germany for a PhD. “After India, Germany is the second home of Sanskrit as there are many scholars in that country. There are even radio broadcasts in Sanskrit and some of the institutions there even offer courses in the language,” he says.
Another student, Prerna, at St Stephen’s College thanks her teachers for making her fall in love with the subject. “Learning the teachings of the Bhagvad Gita, Kalidasa’s Abhijananasakuntalam and the Bharavi Kiratarjuniyam were eye-openers. A course in Sanskrit has as much scope as other arts subjects like English and history,” she says.
Faculty: The department has a strong faculty comprising five professors, four associate professors and three assistant professors. There are 105 Sanskrit faculty members across various constituent colleges of the university. “Our faculty has numerous publications to their credit. They are frequently invited by universities across the globe for teaching and delivering lectures,” says Chaturvedi.
Programmes: PhD Sanskrit; MPhil Sanskrit; and MA Sanskrit are some programmes on offer. Scholars from India and countries such as Russia, Japan and Korea come to the department for research. “The MA syllabus aims to train students in different genres of Sanskrit learning such as Sanskrit literature, grammar and linguistics and Indian philosophy. Besides, students can choose to specialise in any one out of the eight streams which include Vedic literature, Dharmashastra, poetics, epigraphy etc thus approaching Sanskrit from an interdisciplinary standpoint,” adds Chaturvedi. BA (hons) Sanskrit is offered in 28 colleges of Delhi University. In addition, 40 colleges will be teaching Sanskrit at discipline 2 level as well. The department also offers diploma and certificate courses in Sanskrit. These are part-time courses run by the department at the Faculty of Arts.
IT quotient: Apart from the Sanskrit sections available within the college libraries, the Central Library, the Arts Library and south campus library have vast collections of Sanskrit books.
Clubs and societies: Different colleges have their own Sanskrit Parishads which organise various recitations, debates, quizzes, lectures by renowned scholars throughout the year
Admissions: The department will conduc entrance tests for admissions to MA, MPhil and PhD programmes in July