Narayan Prasad Dahal /KATHMANDU – A pretty mesmerizing nation on the lap of the Himalayans has always been the center of attraction with the sublime beauty of nature, history of ancient civilization, uniqueness of culture, and tradition. These existing beauty, history, civilization, culture, and tradition are wider than the territory that a nation occupies.
Nepal, a very sacred place that gave birth to Hinduism and Sanskrit in its sacred land at the very beginning of human civilization (as the oldest religion and language) is now being influenced by external factors that lead toward the loss of identity and originality. Consequently, a nation seeks the restoration of its inseparable uniqueness associated with identity.
Though Hinduism is connected with the idea of interlinked ideology, it is found that this geography of Nepal has carried a history of Hinduism & the Sanskrit language. Hindu word itself is supposed to be derived from the Sanskrit language. Due to this, both Hinduism and Sanskrit are an inseparable part of Nepal’s identity. Despite declaring the nation as a secular state, we can’t deny the fact that Nepal is a country with a majority of Hindu people.
It simply means, there should be the influence of the Sanskrit language in the mainstream. But the fact shows something else. Nation has never emphasis the use and promotion of the Sanskrit language. Along with this, the continuation in decreasing the number of Hindu people has made an adverse effect on the unique identity of a nation. Losing own identity is similar to losing own existence. Our identity is our existence.
Census report shows the decreasing number of Hindu people in the country during the last four decades. During the census of 1981 A.D, there were 89.50% of Hindu people in Nepal which decreased up to 80.62% in 2001 A.D. At the previous census (2011 A.D) there was a slight improvement and it reached 81.34%. Let’s anticipate further improvement in the upcoming report of the recently conducted census 2021. This doesn’t mean that Hinduism always should be superior to any other religion but what about our original culture, tradition, and identity? The decreasing number of Hindu has directly affected the Sanskrit language. We are neglecting our uniqueness while other nations of the world are busy spreading and flourishing their language throughout the world.
Increasing use of social media, globalization, westernization, Maoist war against our culture, the downfall of the Hindu kingdom are the major responsible factor for hampering the promotion of Hinduism and Sanskrit. The Sanskrit language is on verge of extinction in Nepal. There were various factors for this worse situation of Sanskrit in Nepal. Even though Sanskrit is rich in terms of art, literature, history, and civilization people believe that Sanskrit is only related to Hindu people. Along with this, we can’t reject the fact that the English language has made an aggressive influence in our context too.
We can see the attraction of foreigners in Hindu religion and Sanskrit language due to its salient features and unique identity. But the situation is completely different in the context of our nation. We, Nepalese people, are busy adopting foreign cultures and trends. Rishi ram Adhikari in his article “Situation of Sanskrit language in Republic Nepal” has concluded that within the next century Sanskrit language is going to be one of the extinct world’s languages.
Language as a medium of communication, the culture of a certain nation, and evidence of history and civilization stand with the identity of the country. The promotion of language is also related to the strengthening power of the nation. That is why most of the powerful nation throughout the world has succeeded to flourish their language around the world. Talking about the context of Nepal in terms of the Sanskrit language, it is being neglected in the country. Nation has never worked and made effort for the improvement of the Sanskrit language.
Sanskrit language which is the oldest language of the world and mother of Nepali language is a classical language of Indo- Aryan living in south Asia. “The pre-Classical form of Sanskrit is known as Vedic Sanskrit. The earliest attested Sanskrit text is the Rig-Veda, a Hindu scripture from the mid-too late-second millennium BCE. No written records from such an early period survive if any ever existed, but scholars are generally confident that the oral transmission of the texts is reliable: they are ceremonial literature, where the exact phonetic expression and its preservation were a part of the historic tradition.”(Wikipedia)
As said earlier, Nepal has not paid proper attention to the betterment of the Sanskrit language. In our context, ‘Nepal Sanskrit University to improve & systemize the Sanskrit language in higher level was established in Dang district in 1986. University offers a bachelor’s degree in Sanskrit and Ayurveda medicine. University having 12 constituent and 13 affiliated colleges around the country is related to Sanskrit. Besides this, no other significant actions were taken for emphasizing the Sanskrit language in Nepal.
Nepal, to spread, promote, flourish our unique identity and originality throughout the world, and should first work on the part of promoting and improving the Sanskrit language within the nation. Then only it would be easier to work at the international level. Concerned authorities should work a lot to bring positive and fruitful outcomes regarding the Sanskrit language. After all, this is a matter of pride and glorious identity for us. For the betterment and promotion of language, it is necessary to coordinate with society and citizens. Conveying messages between and among people for the maximum use of Sanskrit along with its necessity is mandatory.
Below mentioned points focus on the methods needed for the promotion and betterment of Sanskrit:
1. Citizens at every nook and corner of the country should be aware of the importance of language in a nation’s identity. For this, the government should run an awareness camp.
2. 7 Federal states should compulsorily run at least one university related to the Sanskrit language within a state.
3. 77 District should provide a platform to learn the Sanskrit language via Sanskrit schools and institutions.
4. Coordination of governmental and non-governmental organizations is needed to bring Sanskrit into the mainstream.
5. Informal institutions in different areas providing Sanskrit education are foremost.
6. Use of Social media and online content in Sanskrit can be the best way to flourish the Sanskrit language.
7. Awards, rewards, and special encouragement can play an important role in the rapid promotion of Sanskrit.
8. Curriculum should include at least one Sanskrit language subject at different levels of school and colleges.
9. Adopting Sanskrit as a medium of normal communication and administrative task is a reliable method for its promotion.
Looking from the perspective of Sanskrit education, it has carried vast knowledge regarding human civilization, universe, culture, tradition, and evolution. Realizing the importance of Sanskrit education, Western countries have started adopting it at the university level. Sanskrit education is not only a knowledge of the language but more about the universe and its different dimensions. Since there is common sharing of culture, practices, and social life between Nepal and India, adopting Sanskrit rituals, practices, the language within this Nation can even help to strengthen the friendly relation and can help for a harmonious relationship.
As we have talked about the ways for promoting Sanskrit education in Nepal by different related bodies, there are some methods that Sanskrit universities too need to adopt. The below-mentioned points focused on the role of universities to flourish the rituals, beliefs, language, knowledge, and education of Sanskrit.
1. At the very beginning, universities should pay proper attention to advancing Sanskrit education so that it would draw the attention of a large number of people.
2. There should be a change in the perspective of people that the Sanskrit language is hard to read and is only associated with Hindu philosophy. For this, universities can be made different translations of it in English, Nepali, and local language within the country.
3. Along with the language of Sanskrit, the importance of Sanskrit education should be a major concern of universities.
4. Advance knowledge of the Hindu philosophy, Sanskrit education, its content, and epics should be the major concern of universities.
5. The curriculum of universities should not only focus on the compulsion of single-subject but additional and optional subjects related to Sanskrit language/education for further education.
6. There should be an objective of producing skilled human resources on Sanskrit background to the optimum level by every university related to Sanskrit.
7. After the completion of academic learning on Sanskrit education, universities should ensure the placement for those human resources willing to work in Sanskrit.
8. Mobilizing the human resource in the real field for promoting Sanskrit rituals, norms, ideology, values, language is a must at a local level.
Establishing Sanskrit universities is not only enough for the flourishing Sanskrit education in Nepal. Better performance, effective role and responsibilities by university always remain at the topmost position for its development and promotion.
These above-mentioned steps can bring positive impact and fruitful outcomes for promotion. Not only for the promotion of the Sanskrit language but even for maintaining harmony and peace in society, has Sanskrit education played a vital role.
It would bring positive vibrations in Nepalese societies along with the reduction in existing evils and problems. But before all these, we individuals should try to adopt it. There should be a desire for change within us. We should pay proper attention to the use of the Sanskrit language at our level. Though individuals can’t bring a drastic change in short intervals, they could play a vital role in bringing change.