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Encouraging interdisciplinarity

education Updated: Jul 09, 2014 11:59 IST
Gauri Kohli

Times have definitely changed. It was assumed earlier that those who studied Sanskrit could only be teachers, but now students of Sanskrit who opt for other subjects like maths or computer science, are getting admission in PG courses in computer science or MBA courses. The demand for teachers, of course, continues at various levels.

A BEd or MEd is necessary for school level. For jobs in colleges and universities, students take NET exams. PhD is another way to continue the studies. Students of Vedic studies, Karmakanda, Jyothish learning can easily get jobs or go for self-employment. “I have been studying the language since class 8. It is an ancient language that also helps in the study of European languages. Sanskrit grammar is the most scientific. I want to specialise in Indian aesthetics and I am also looking forward to participating in the World Sanskrit Conference in Bangkok next year,” says Jayesh Vyas, who plans to pursue a PhD in Sanskrit from DU.

Nowadays, new areas like computational lingustics, Ayurvedic medicine, Yoga therapy, Vedantic counselling etc, have opened new avenues for Sanskrit students and researchers. “These interdisciplinary fields demand the sound knowledge in Sanskrit along with the domain knowledge, which is very rare to get. Even now we find scarcity of scholars and researchers in India,” says Shrinivasa Varakhedi, vice chancellor, Karnataka Sanskrit University.

Sanskrit students/scholars can contribute to various disciplines like social science, political science, economics, with the studies of different models that are presented in ancient texts. “Sanskrit universities are yet to start such programmes. Hopefully, the UGC will take necessary steps to encourage such interdisciplinary studies. Researchers in IITs and IIMs have started looking for indigenous ideas. We are exploring how to create a bridge between ancient sciences and modern studies. The Second Sanskrit Commission has been set up for this purpose.

“Soon, Sanskrit is likely to be categorised as a science subject. An effort was made by Hyderabad Central University to start a Sanskrit dept in their science faculty. Today, the dept of Sanskrit studies is working in the field of computational linguistics. IIT Bombay has a Sanskrit unit in its humanity faculty. IISc has plans to start Sanskrit studies,” says Varakhedi.

Learning the language can also get you involved in work related to Indian history and culture. “I read, edit and translate old manuscripts and want to specialise in the area of Sanskrit shiksha. I studied the language in BA, MA, MPhil and now PhD. I believe all Indians should be acquainted with the classical language,” says Deepro Chakraborty, a PhD scholar at Jawaharlal Nehru University.