The controversy relating to the teaching of German as an optional third language in Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan appeared set to deepen with Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Ashok Singhal saying on Friday that Sanskrit should be made compulsory.
“Absolutely yes… one foreign language [English] is enough’’ said the Ayodhya movement leader in answer to a question on the sidelines of the World Hindu Conference here.
“Many more things will be made compulsory in times to come. Sanskrit is the language of our country. Everything was written in Sanskrit thousands of years ago. If you want to eliminate it, you want to eliminate this country,’’ he said.
On her part, HRD Minister Smriti Irani said a controversy was “deliberately’’ being created and asserted that continuation of German would have been a violation of the Constitution.
Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the WHC, she said Schedule 21 of the Constitution lists 22 Indian languages. “The MoU between the Goethe Institute-Max Mueller Bhavan and KVS was in violation of the Constitution as German is a foreign language. Extending the contract would have been a violation. I have taken oath under the Constitution and will abide by it.’’
The Minister said KVS students from classes VI to VIII could opt for any Indian language in future. “Students will have the option of picking any Indian language as the third language instead of Sanskrit. For instance, if a student wishes to take Tamil as the third language, a Tamil teacher will be made available.’’
Earlier, addressing a session on Hindu Education, she said there was no need to “talk down English,’’ but stressed the need for value-based learning and education that respected Indian culture and Indian languages. “Our civilisation is rich... and we should celebrate that.”