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Updated: July 2, 2012 18:03 IST

From teacher to Siromani

Shreevarshini
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Saroja Ramanujam
Special Arrangement Saroja Ramanujam

Dr. Saroja Ramanujam teaches Sanskrit through skype

There is no age limit for learning. And it has proved again and again. The latest is Dr. Saroja Ramanujam (76).

During her childhood, Dr. Saroja studied Sanskrit as her second language. Though she loved the subject, she never imagined that the language would mean so much to her. Dr. Saroja is a graduate in mathematics, with a diploma in statistics and a post graduate in economics. She is a gold medallist in Sanskrit as her second language, from the University of Madras.

She worked as a statistician in Indian Oil Corporation for some time after which she got married. She dedicated entire time to her family during her early years. While her family was in London, she also learnt the basics of German, Spanish and French. Her family moved to India in the 90’s and she joined Vidya Mandir, Mylapore, on request where she taught English, statistics and music, for eight years.

Passion for Sanskrit

As the deepest of passion never dies, but lies within, Saroja decided to pursue her passion for Sanskrit.

Post her retirement, she began pursuing a ‘Siromani’ in Sanskrit. Meanwhile, she finished M.A. in Indian Philosophy at the Madras University. She completed Ph.D. in Sanskrit Philosophy and Siromani in Sanskrit, simultaneously, thus becoming, Siromani Dr. Saroja.

Her husband, Ramanujam, gave her a lot of support and encouragement, and even took care of the household chores, while she studied. She has a son, who is a doctorate in astronomy and astrophysics, and a post doctorate from Paris. He is now a visiting scientist at NCRA, Pune. “I call my husband a “doctor-maker” as he has two doctors to his credit,” says Dr. Saroja.

Technology is a boon, realised Dr. Saroja, and began releasing e-books for the benefit of all.

The e-books contained word-by-word translation of slokas from Sanskrit literature. Her first e-book was ‘Sribashya’ of Swami Ramanuja. ‘Bhagvad Gita,’ ‘Yadhavabhyudhaya of Vedanta Desika’ and many more followed. These e-books can be read at ‘sundarasimham.org’ and ‘srihayagrive.org’

To keep alive the treasures and traditions of our Indian culture, she wanted to reach far and wide.

Skype, online communication software, provided her a platform. She began conducting Sanskrit classes through Skype in 2009. She taught basic and advanced Sanskrit to students from all over the world, and of all ages.

She recently began conducting Sanskrit classes through Facebook, with groups for Sanskrit literature. “I conduct classes five days a week, dedicating each day to a different topic, to make learning interesting and varied.

Her students have brought out her compilations and translations as a book, which was released in January. “The idea of releasing a book of Dr. Saroja’s compilation dawned on Usha Srinivasan, one of Saroja’s students, who resides in Singapore. Usha’s sister, Nalini Kalyanaraman, ably helped her to get the book printed in a short period of time.

“She is a great teacher and scholar. I am happy and honoured to be her student. She has become an integral part of my family,” says Usha.

Dr. Saroja is a resident of R.A. Puram and can be contacted at ‘Sanskrit class’ on skype. To reach her, dial 99412 89422.

(Shreevarshini is a third year student of English Literature, Ethiraj College for Women).

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