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Updated: January 6, 2012 00:07 IST

Manmohan for inculcating spirit of liberalism and tolerance embedded in Sanskrit

Special Correspondent
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Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at the 15th World Sanskrit Conference at Vigyan Bhavan in New Delhi on Thursday. Photo: V.V. Krishnan
The Hindu Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at the 15th World Sanskrit Conference at Vigyan Bhavan in New Delhi on Thursday. Photo: V.V. Krishnan

Its wisdom can enrich present-day knowledge systems and Indian languages immensely, he says

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday promised to strengthen efforts for the promotion, development and enrichment of Sanskrit. He pointed out that the language was the “spirit of India.”

Addressing the 15th World Sanskrit Conference here, Dr. Singh said the spirit of liberalism and tolerance embedded in it must be inculcated in the present day life. “Like the civilisation of India, Sanskrit does not belong to any particular race, sect or religion. It represents a culture that is not narrow and sectarian but open tolerant and all-embracing...It is this spirit of liberalism and tolerance embedded in Sanskrit that we must inculcate in our present-day life,” he said.

Misconception

Sanskrit, recognised as one of the oldest living languages in the world, was often misunderstood as only a language of religious hymns and rituals.

“Such an understanding does great injustice to the great genius of the language and betrays ignorance of the work of great writers, thinkers, sages and scientists such as Kautilya, Charaka, Sushruta, Aryabhata, Varahmihira, Brahmagupta, Bhaskaracharya and others,” he said.

Sanskrit was a treasure of knowledge of mathematics, medicines, botany, chemistry, arts and humanities. “If we provide the missing links and establish the required inter-disciplinary approaches, the wisdom of Sanskrit has the potential of enriching the present-day knowledge systems and Indian languages immensely.”

The government was committed to promoting and developing the language. Dr. Singh said, “...in the time to come, we will further strengthen our efforts for promotion, development and enrichment of Sanskrit language.”

Source of values and ideals

The Prime Minister hoped that the event would result in better appreciation of the country's culture, ideals and world views. He said Sanskrit was also the source of values and ideals that have sustained India through the ages.

During the six-day event, being organised by the Ministry of Human Resource Development and the International Association of Sanskrit Studies, scholars and delegates from 32 countries will deliberate on topics such as poetry, drama and aesthetics, scientific literature, Buddhist studies, Jain studies, Sanskrit and regional languages and literatures and Vedas.

Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal strongly recommended the inclusion of contemporary concepts into old Sanskrit texts on various subjects, including science and medicines to widen the language's scope and make them relevant and useful in present day situations.

He called for a “little introspection” on the issue while noting that the study of the rich and vast Sanskrit texts on these subjects were not continued in the present era.

Mr. Sibal said that to ensure that the study of Sanskrit was utilised to protect and expand the knowledge of different subjects, old Sanskrit texts on these subjects should be supplemented by bringing in the present concepts and advances in these subjects to them.

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