A spurt in the popularity of mythological and historical dramas on televisions, and the subsequent demand for script writers, has sparked students’ interest in Sanskrit and mythology courses at the University of Mumbai (MU).
Admissions for courses in Sanskrit have witnessed a considerable rise in the last two years. In addition, this is for the first time this year when batches for Sanskrit are packed to capacity.
“We are, for the first time, running two batches of 50 students each. And even in other parallel courses, the admissions are getting filled in almost the first week itself,” said Mrunalini Newalkar, who had worked on a television serial earlier and is currently a teacher of the Comparative Mythology course. “I had to personally deny many students and urge them to come early next year.”
While the Sanskrit courses have seen an upward trend, the demand for postgraduate diploma course in Comparative Mythology has seen the biggest surge in the last two years.
Television dramas that have mythology themes need consultants who can write scripts and create characters. This can be done only by experts. For the last two years, several applications to the course were turned down owing to the limited number of seats. Keeping in mind the growing number of applications, the varsity has upped the number of seats by 10 for the course.
“The limit was capped at 50 seats each year. But from this year, we will be admitting 60 students on first-come, first-served basis,” said Madhavi Narsalay, assistant professor of Sanskrit department.
She added that the university is in talks for a Master’s programme for the course. “This is a true opportunity for people who are interested in mythology and parallel studies. It will also give a peek into our country’s magnanimous history,” Narsalay said.
The Sanskrit courses offer theories defining and understanding mythology — both Indian and the world — creation and destruction of theories and other cultural theories. It also includes concepts of life after death and reincarnation, which could help people formulate new pegs for television serials.
Newalkar said there is a huge scope in this field and it needs people who can offer expertise.
“The fraternity needs people who can do solid and serious research. People are now open to interpretations. A relatively larger window of opportunities has opened to public in a field which was not known to be a business-oriented one,” she said, adding that this period is a mythological boom and this could be a very unique future for the opportunity seekers.