The lush gardens of the Bhavan and the traditional Koothambalam served the perfect setting for a discussion and commemoration of the country’s heritage.

Carefully enunciated syllables and words were expressed by scholars and speakers of India’s age-old language during the valedictory function of the week-long ‘Samskritavarakhosham’ held at the Vyloppily Samskriti Bhavan here, on Friday.

A state-wide celebration of Sanskrit, this festival sought to bust myths of the language being inaccessible and solely belonging to the realm of the intellectual elite and to encourage its teaching in schools across the State.

The lush gardens of the Bhavan and the traditional Koothambalam served the perfect setting for a discussion and commemoration of the country’s heritage.

The function was attended by the head of the erstwhile royal family of Travancore, Sri Uthradom Tirunal Marthanda Varma; Krishna Shastry, founder of the organisation ‘Samskrita Bharati’, and inaugurated by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy. The programme highlighted the need to provide an impetus to the learning of a language possessing multiple dimensions, veering from the spiritual and philosophical to the yet-to-be-tapped scientific potential.

The week-long programme was jointly conducted by the Vishwa Samskrita Prathishtanam, the State chapter of the ‘Samskrita Bharati’, and the Kerala Sanskrit Teachers’ Federation.

District president of the Samskrita Prathistanam K. Unnikrishnan emphasised in his welcoming address that there was a need to encourage schools to teach Sanskrit from class one. “While even Arabic is taught, there are no provisions for Sanskrit teaching which is very disappointing,” he said. The Maharaja, too, noted how the myriad languages spoken across the country today has its origins in Sanskrit and wished for mechanisms to be set up to facilitate the teaching of the language.

Mr. Shastry, deemed as a vanguard figure in the mission to spread the practice of spoken Sanskrit, stated clearly, “Learning Sanskrit is not like learning a new language.” His key-note speech was largely in Sanskrit, only occasionally interspersed with English, but it still succeeded in getting across to laymen, buttressing his contention.

“Today’s technology is IT; tomorrow’s will be biotechnology, the day after, nanotechnology. What comes afterwards is knowledge technology,” he said. India has the potential to turn into a superpower by 2025, according to the scholar, for it is home to scriptures and Sanskrit literature which was “a great treasure of knowledge”. “But the problem is,” he said, “we have not yet decoded it.”

He also said it had been proved that the language could make the brain sharper and the child more receptive to other branches of study.

Oommen Chandy, during his inaugural address noted the recommendations made. “For certain, we will look into the issue and ensure that schools will provide for its teaching and due importance is proffered.”