INTRODUCTION

1. The Sanskrit Commission appointed by the Government of India, in terms of their Resolution No. F. 34-1/56-A-1, dated the 1st October, 1956 (See Appendix I), has completed its deliberations and has now the honour to submit the following Report. In response to the demand voiced forth by the public and the' Parliament, the Government appointed this Commission "to consider the question of the present state of Sanskrit Education in all its aspects". That the Government took the most opportune step in appointing this Commission was more than amply borne out when, in the course of its inquiry, the Commission could see for itself the enthusiasm that this act of theirs had produced in the country and the wide appreciation of the concern that the Government had evinced in promoting the study of the language and literature in which the culture of the country was enshrined.

2. The Sanskrit Commission comprised the following Members:-

1. Dr. Suniti Kumar Chatterji,

Chairman, West Bengal Legislative Council, Calcutta. (Chairman)

2. Shri J. H. Dave,

Director, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Bombay.

3. Prof. S. K. De,

Professor of Sanskrit Language and Literature, Post-Graduate Research Department, Sanskrit College, Calcutta, (now Professor, Jadavpur University, Calcutta).

4. Prof. T. R. V. Murti, Sayajirao Gaekwad Professor of Indian Civilization and Culture, Banaras Hindu University, Banaras.

5. Prof. V. Raghavan,

Professor of Sanskrit, University of Madras, Madras.

6. Asthana-Vidwan Panditaraja V. S. Ramachandra Sastry,

Sankara Mutt, Bangalore.

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7. Prof. Vishva Bandhu Shastri,

Director, Vishveshvarananda Vedic Research Institute, Hoshiarpur.

8. Prof R. N. Dandekar,

Professor of Sanskrit, University of Poona, Poona. (Member-Secretary)

Shri K. Sundara Rama Sarma, Assistant Education Officer,

Ministry of Education, New Delhi, acted as Assistant Secretary.

3. The terms of reference of the Commission and the procedure to be followed by them were laid down by Government in their Resolution as under:-

"The terms of reference of the Commission will be-

(i) to undertake a survey of the existing facilities for Sanskrit Education in Universities and non- University institutions and to make proposals for promoting the study of Sanskrit, including research; and

(ii) to examine the traditional system of Sanskrit Education in order to find out what features from it could be usefully incorporated into the modern system."

In connection with its work, the Commission, in the words of the Government Resolution, was to

"obtain such information as they may consider useful for or relevant to any matter under their consideration whether by asking for written memoranda or by examining witnesses or in such form and in such manner as they may consider appropriate, from the Central Government, the State Governments and such other authorities, organisations or individuals as may, in the opinion of the Commission, be of assistance to them", and

"to visit or depute any of their Sub-Committees to visit such parts of the territory of India as they consider necessary or expedient".

4. From the very beginning,the Commission felt that the terms of reference, which specifically mentioned only two items, namely, (i) Sanskrit Education in Universities and non-University institutions and (ii) traditional system of Sanskrit Education, were somewhat restrict- ed; and unless these terms of reference were understood in the widest possible sense and certain other matters connected with the problem of Sanskrit Education and Research were properly examined, the delibera- tions of the Commission would not be really complete. It was, for instance, necessary to inquire into the question of Sanskrit studies in

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Secondary Schools, which were primarily the feeders of Universities. The extent and standard of Sanskrit studies in Universities were dependent upon the nature of those studies in Secondary Schools. No subject of study could be pursued in a school or college without reference to what the student of that subject would or could do after the completion of his education. The avenues open for a branch of study or the roles persons brought up in a particular discipline can play as educated citizens have a direct relation to the strength and continuance of that branch of study. The policy in respect of Sanskrit as, indeed, in respect of all education must be correlated to the needs and aspirations of the members of the body politic.- The Commission, therefore, felt that it was necessary to consider the place of Sanskrit and the Sanskritist in the national life of present- day India. For this purpose, the Commission endeavoured to cover a large field in the course of its inquiry. It directed its attention to all important questions relating, directly or by necessary implications, to Sanskrit studies in India. That the Government themselves contemplated the Commission to make a thorough investigation is borne out by the preamble to their Resolution where they have actually referred to "Sanskrit Education in all its aspects".

5. After the attainment of Independence, the Government of India took on hand the re-organisation of education, and, for that purpose, appointed two Commissions, one relating to University Education with Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan as Chairman and the other to Secondary School Education with Dr. A. Lakshmanaswami Mudaliar as Chairman. With respect to the Official Language of the Indian Union as adopted in the Constitution (namely, Hindi, side by side with English for the present), the Government also appointed another Commission under the Chairmanship of late Bal Gangadhar Kher. In the Reports of these three Commissions, the question of Sanskrit Education and the place of Sanskrit has been discussed.

6. The University Education Commission (December 1948- August .1949) has, in its Report, indicated what the place of Sanskrit (or Classical Language in general) should be in the scheme of General Education in Secondary Schools and Colleges. While discussing courses of study in Arts and Science, it has regretted the fact that the importance of the study of classics in our languages has not been sufficiently realised. In that very context, it has made the correct appraisal of the value of Sanskrit language and literature and has voiced forth the hope that "our students will be encouraged to take up Sanskrit in their degree course" (p. 131). Elsewhere, it has pointed out that Sanskrit language and literature, which constitute our cultural heritage, offer many opportunities for research. It is interesting that, in connection with research in Fine Arts, the Commission should have specially referred to the knowledge of Vedic music to be derived from the study of Samaveda. In its observations on religious education, the University Education Commission has stressed the importance of Sanskrit works, which embody the element of morality in a larger sense and which are thus best suited for a true spiritual training. It would also like our educational institutions being imbued with the

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atmosphere of simplicity and consecration which Sanskrit ideals of education as embodied in the ancient Gurukulas stood for. The University Education Commission has even discussed the claims of Sanskrit as the medium of education and has accepted the fact that Sanskrit was the lingua franca for the world of learning in ancient India. The Commission has also briefly indicated the facilities available in various Indian Universities for specialisation in Sanskrit and allied subjects.

7. The Secondary Education Commission (October 1952-June 1953), while discussing at some length the question of the study of languages in Secondary Schools, has favoured the view that the study of Sanskrit should be promoted and those who wish to take it should be given every possible encouragement. It has recognised the great appeal which Sanskrit possesses both from the cultural and religious points of view, and has shown an awareness of the present deterioration and the danger of eventual extinction of its study. At another place,_ the Secondary Education Commission has stressed the need for revising the methods of teaching the classical language and for modern techniques being employed in their study.

8. The Official Language Commission (June 1955-June 1956) also had included in its Questionnaire a number of questions relating to Sanskrit, and the Sanskrit Commission could see from the Report of that Commission (a confidential copy of which was placed' at its disposal by the Union Home Minister) that the Official Language Commission also accepted the basic importance of Sanskrit. The Report refers more than once, when speaking of regional languages. terminology and cultural unity of India, to the great role that Sanskrit has played. The Report says: "It is hardly necessary to add that, besides the current regional languages, there is an immense amount of work which needs to be done in respect of Sanskrit, Pali, Prakrits, Apabhramsa, etc. The Sanskrit language pre-eminently and the other ancient languages in different degrees have powerfully influenced current Indian speeches and a study of these has an obvious' bearing on the study of contemporary forms of speech" (p. 218). In its concluding remarks (in Ch. XV), the Official Language Commission, while emphasising the role and value of Sanskrit, says: "All our languages, including what are known as the Dravidian languages, have through all the centuries habitually drafted, in a greater or less degree, to meet every new situation and requirement for expression of a new idea or shade of meaning, upon that vast and inexhaustible treasurehouse of vocabulary, phrase, idiom and concept comprised by the Sanskrit language and literature. The Ramayana and the Mahabharata, the Puranas and the Sastras, the Classical poems, dramas and literary masterpieces of Sanskrit have served throughout those centuries not only as the reservoir of ideas, sentiments and parables to be drawn by all for the embellishment of their literary output, but also as benchmarks of literary excellence, as standards for social conduct, as examplars of morality, and, in short, as the repository of wit and wisdom of all the Indian peoples throughout the ages........ (p. 249).

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9. In recent years, various State,. Governments also had appointed Committees to examine and report on different aspects of Sanskrit Education and Research in their respective States. On the appointment of the Sanskrit Commission, letters were addressed to the Education Secretaries of all the States requesting them to supply the Commission with the Reports of such Committees, and the following material was received by the Commission:

1. Report of the Sanskrit College Syllabus Revision Committee, Government of United Provinces, 1938*1.

2. Report of the Sanskrit Reorganisation Committee, Bihar, 1939.

3. Report of the Sanskrit Pathasala Reorganisation Committee, Government of Uttar Pradesh, November, 1947 (Report published in March, 1 5

4. Report of the Sanskrit Education Committee, Government of West Bengal, 1948 3 .

5. Report of the Committee on Sanskrit Education, Travancore, October 1948 (Report published in 1949).

6. Sanskrit Entrance Examination Reorganisation Committee, Madras, 1949 3.

7. Report of the Sanskrit Pathasala Reorganisation Committee, Government of Bombay, 1950.

8. Committee for Educational Reforms, Mysore (Report submitted in February, 1953).

9. Report of the Punjab State Sanskrit Committee, 1954 (Report submitted in April, 1956).

10. Report of the Committee for Reorganisation of Sanskrit Institutions, Madhya Pradesh, 1955.

11. Report of the Sanskrit Samiti, Government of Rajasthan, 1955-56.

10. Some of the more important recommendations of these Committees have been given among the Appendices of this Report (See Appendix 11).


1*This Committee was appointed in 1938 and its Report was published in 1941. This Report mentions the Report of the Sanskrit College Reorganisation Committee, appointed by the U. P. Government.

2*This Committee was appointed in March 1948 and its Report was published in 1949. The Reports of two other Committees, the Sanskrit College Committee (1923-26) and the Bengal Sanskrit Association Committee (1938), are referred to in this Report.

3*Recommendations of this Committee in connection with the Reorganised oriental High Schools were given effect to in 1952.

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11. Shri Radhanath Rath, Minister, Orissa State, supplied to this Commission a copy of the Recommendations of the Oriental University (Puri) Committee set up by the Government of Orissa in July, 1955. Literature relating to the newly founded Sanskrit University of Varanasi, to the Kurukshetra University (Panjab) and to the Vikrama University (Ujjain) was also made available to the Commission.

12. At its fourth Session held at Tirupati in November 1955, the Sanskrit Vishva Parishad had appointed a Committee (a) to enquire and report on the re-organisation of the traditional courses in Sanskrit so as to fit them into the scheme of modern education and create possibilities of career; (b) to enquire and report on the methods of teaching Sanskrit at all stages, with special reference to the new method of teaching which is being tried by the Kuppuswami Sastri Research Institute, Pandit Anant Sastri Phadke and others; and (c) such other matters as may be germane to the above. A copy of the preliminary Draft Report drawn up by the Secretary of this Committee was made available to the Commission by him.

13. On the 30th September and the 1st October, 1955, the Union 'Ministry of Education had convened at New Delhi a Conference of Professors of Sanskrit in Indian Universities. The Conference was attended by 29 Professors, representing various Universities, and among other invitees were such eminent scholars as Mahamahopadhyaya Dr. P. V. Kane and Professor K. A. Nilakanta Sastri. This Conference was called upon to suggest steps that might be taken to encourage larger number of Indian students to study Sanskrit and to make recommendations in connection with the reconstruction of the syllabus. of Sanskrit studies and the co-ordination of standards in Sanskrit teaching. The Conference discussed at some length the various questions placed before it for consideration and passed comprehensive resolutions on such matters as the place of Sanskrit in General Educa- tion, the duration. and content of Sanskrit courses in Universities and Pathasalas, the system of examinations, the qualifications of teachers of Sanskrit at different levels, the promotion of research and publication, and the desirability of establishing an All-India Board of Sanskrit Studies.

14. The Sanskrit Commission has taken into consideration the recommendations in all these official and non-official Reports and the resolutions passed at the Conference of Professors of Sanskrit. Not only have the materials presented in these Reports been useful to this Commission, but this Commission felt greatly heartened in its efforts by the fact that the States of the Indian Union had found it necessary to enquire into the condition of Sanskrit learning in their respective regions and had from time to time considered the question of re- organising and revitalising Sanskrit studies.

15. The appointment of the Sanskrit Commission by the Government of India, at this juncture, is particularly significant. It is true that, under the Constitution, education is the responsibility of the State Governments. But, in view of the facts that Sanskrit is of all- India provenance, is the basis of most of the modern Indian languages and

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is important from the points of view, among others, of the country's cultural heritage and national solidarity, it is but proper that the Union Government should feel concerned about the promotion of its study at all levels. The State Governments are naturally faced with local problems, and some of them have more pressing demands of developing their regional languages. It is the duty of the Centre to see that all those issues of larger significance. which are for the ultimate good of the nation as a whole, are taken care of by it. It was, therefore, but proper that the Union Government should have, through a Commission, sought ways and means to evolve an all-India policy in this respect. Generally speaking, the Committees appointed by various States, which have been referred to above were charged with an inquiry into some specific problems relating to Sanskrit Education, such as the re-organization of Pathasalas, within their own regions. The present all-India Commission, which has been asked to consider the question of Sanskrit in all its aspects, thus represents the culmination of the various efforts so far made by the different State Governments in the matter of promoting Sanskrit.

16. The appropriateness of the appointment of this Commission at the present juncture cannot be over-emphasised. Since the attainment of Independence, the country as a whole has been undergoing an all- round regeneration, and the Government have gone all out to explore the channels through which they could help the growth and consolidation of the nation. It cannot be forgotten, as Rajyapal Shri Sri Prakasa said, that, in the struggle for freedom which this nation waged, it was inspired and sustained by a sense of its great heritage and an ardent desire to come into its own and regain the glory that had been eclipsed by alien domination. The dawn of independence has been looked up to by the nation as the beginning of an age of cultural rehabilitation of the country. In the fields of arts and letters, several concrete steps have been taken by the Government. And Sanskrit, being the bedrock of Indian speech and literature and the artistic and cultural heritage of the country, has been naturally looking forward to the Government, all these years, for measures for its rehabilitation. This Commission, in the course of its tours, could see a feeling of regret and disappointment among the people that, while no positive steps had been taken for helping Sanskrit, the measures undertaken in respect of other languages have had adverse repercussions on it. The ultimate result of this has been that Sanskrit has not been allowed to enjoy even the status and facilities it had under the British Raj. In this connection, the Sanskrit Commission would like to quote an old verse, which many Sanskritists referred to and which graphically pictured their real feeling:

2-1 M, of E. & S. R./58

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" `The night will pass and the bright day will dawn; the sun will rise and the lotus will bloom in all its beauty' while the bee, imprisoned in a closed bud, was thus pondering over its future, alas, an elephant uprooted the lotus-plant itself."

17. The grievance of the people was acute, because they had expected that there would be a better and more sympathetic understanding for Sanskrit after Independence. The appointment of the Sanskrit Commission may, therefore, be said to reflect the Union Government's keen awareness of this feeling and their sincere desire to develop Sanskrit Education and Research in the country on proper and fruitful lines.

18. The first meeting of the Sanskrit Commission was held at New, Delhi on the 7th and the 8th October, 1956. That meeting was devoted to a discussion regarding the terms of reference and the plan of work to be adopted by the Commission. At that meeting, the Commission also drafted questions and considered the points to be included in the Questionnaire to be issued by it. The setting up of a Secretariat for the Commission was discussed, and it was decided to have the Headquarters of the Commission at Poona. The Secretariat ,of the Commission started functioning at Poona on the 1st November, 1956. During the month of November, the Questionnaire was finalised and printed..It was then distributed to about 4,000 persons and insti- tutions throughout India, who were interested in or were concerned with Sanskrit Education and Research. The Questionnaire was published both in Sanskrit and English (See Appendix 111). It was only thus that the Commission could reach the large number of Pandits in the various parts of the country, whose views on this subject, which was so vital to them, it was particularly anxious to elicit. The response from the public and the Governments was, indeed, most encouraging, and far exceeded the expectations of the Commission. Nearly 1,200 replies to the Questionnaire were received, including a good many in Sanskrit'. These replies were then carefully analysed by the Technical Assistants, under the direction of the Member-Secretary, and the analyses were supplied to each member. These analyses themselves ran into 2,653 typed sheets. Side by side with these analyses, questionwise synthesis-statements were also got prepared for the use of Members.

19. At the first meeting of the Commission, it was decided that the Commission should visit some important centres-both traditional and modern--of Sanskrit learning in India, with a view to examining in situ the conditions prevailing in various States and meeting individuals and representatives of institutions of all types in those regions, interested in the subject of the Commission's inquiry. The tour programme of the Commission (See Appendix VI), which was carried out in five laps, covered all the 14 States of India. The Commission visited 56 centres and interviewed over 1,100 persons, representing various shades of opinion. Apart from these interviews, the programme of the Commission at these places included visits to Pathasalas, Universities,


1*Out of the 1,200 replies received, nearly 470 were in Sanskrit.