By Anuradha Dutta, Kolkata, Jan 2 IBNS | 2 years ago

West Bengal Higher Education Minister Bratya Basu on Thursday hinted that the existing Sanskrit College in Kolkata could be upgraded into a Sanskrit University supporting scholarly researches and studies on the lines of the Nalanda.

On the occasion of releasing Katha Amritasaman, a book by Nrisingha Prasad Bhaduri, well known indologist and an authority on epics like Mahabharata and Ramayana, Basu said his government is considering the matter seriously.

"We are discussing the possibilities of a unitary university dedicated to the study of Sanskrit alone based on the Nalanda model," he added.

Presently, the Sanskrit College in College Street, founded in 1824, is a specialized liberal arts college offering an undergraduate degree in Sanskrit language, Pali language, linguistics, and ancient Indian and world history, affiliated to University of Calcutta.

Basu, who is also a playwright and actor, contended the need to honour native languages and literature and upholding local heroes.

He said to give further impetus, the government is planning to introduce Sanskrit from the sixth standard in schools under the West Bengal Board of Secondary Education.

"Even though the expert committee has not made any such recommendation as of now, we expect it to come soon," revealed the minister on the issue.

The book, which was launched at Starmark here, includes Nrisingha Prasad Bhaduri's regular column which appeared in the Saptahik Bartaman for a period of three and a half years and thereafter in the Sunday supplement Robbar of Sangbad Pratidin, then edited by late filmmaker Rituparno Ghosh.

Present at the event were classical vocalist, Ajay Chakravarty and illustrator Ramananda Banyopadhyay.

Congratulating the writer for his work, Ajay Chakravarty said,"Being a scholar of Sanskrit, Nrisingha Prasad Bhaduri has woven Bengali and Sanskrit in his writings in a way that enables the reader to get a feel of Sanskrit, effortlessly."

"Sanskrit is the language of our ancestors, but is fast disappearing due to lack of usage and practice among the common people," lamented the maestro and made a request to the higher education minister to include the Sanskrit mantras, which formed the part of daily rituals in the ancient India, in the school curriculum.

Appreciating Bhaduri's book and on-going research works, which are expected to render many long-standing beliefs on the ancient epics and puranas stale, Bratya Basu said, "West Bengal higher education department is funding a project to develop a complete encyclopedia of the epics and the puranas under the direction of the author, which will help to throw new light on the subject."

The project is expected to be completed by 2015 and will be in 12 volumes.

In the absence of acceptance and patronage from its people, vernacular languages are bound to be lost in oblivion despite government efforts, he asserted.

Katha Amritasaman from the house of Dey's Publishing, is an authoritative work on the ancient epic Mahabharata and provides interpretation that is both erudite and simple.

(Posted on 03-01-2014)