Varanasi to be known as Sanskrit city

Lucknow: Varanasi, the parliamentary constituency of PM Narendra Modi, will now be known as the Sanskrit city in the world.

Varanasi has the maximum number of Sanskrit schools as well as the highest number of students studying Sanskrit.

There are more than 110 Sanskrit schools that are functional in Varanasi.

Two more will be added to this tally by the new session while 13 new Sanskrit schools are also going to be opened across the state by the Yogi Adityanath government.

According to the government spokesman, the Yogi Adityanath government is going to set up Sanskrit Directorate on the lines of Directorates of Secondary and Basic Education.

After the creation of the Directorate, Sanskrit language will get a new

identity.

Apart from this, for the first time in Uttar Pradesh, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath started releasing government press notes in Sanskrit. He also tweeted in Sanskrit from his official Twitter account.

After the Chief Minister's initiative, the Sanskrit Board has also started promoting Sanskrit language in the state in a big way.

According to the officials, the state will get 13 new Sanskrit schools and these schools have already met their prescribed standards. Out of these, two will be opened in Kashi and one in Jaunpur.

A total of 1,164 Sanskrit schools are being run by the Uttar Pradesh Secondary Sanskrit Education Council, of which 971 schools are aided schools.

More than 97,000 students are studying in these Sanskrit schools. In order to connect Sanskrit schools with modern education, the computer education and NCERT books are being provided to students from Class 6 to 12.

It has also been decided to provide free food and hostel facilities to more than 4,000 students in about 200 'gurukul' Sanskrit schools in the state.

‘Over 2,000 yrs on, Sanskrit still popular in China’

Beijing: Sanskrit studies are flourishing in China, over 2,000 years after the ancient Indian language was brought to this country along with Buddhism, making a profound impact on Chinese monarchs and scholars over the centuries, according to a distinguished professor here.

Wang Bangwei, a well-known Chinese scholar in Sanskrit and Director of Sino-Indian Buddhist Studies, Institute of Oriental and Indian Studies at the Peking University, said Sanskrit which is the root of Indian culture continues to remain popular in China, contrary to its modest progress in modern India.

Wang said the Peking University is one of the oldest in China and this year marks the completion of 100 years of teaching Sanskrit at the leading varsity. Wang credited 4th Century AD Indian scholar Kumarajiva for spreading Sanskrit in China.

Kumarajiva was instrumental in translating Buddhist sutras into Chinese language during his stay in China over 2,000 years ago, earning the royal title of "National Teacher of China".

He was the first among numerous scholars who laid a firm foundation for civilisational links between the two countries.

Kumarajiva, hailing from a Kashmiri Brahmin family from the then Kucha Kingdom, spent about 23 years in China in the 4th century AD both as a prisoner and as a most revered scholar.

Sanskrit, its associated culture and its development was kept alive by numerous Chinese scholars, like Fa Xian and Xuan Zang and others, who visited India, Wang said, while launching the Sanskrit learning application "Little Guru" of the Indian Council of Cultural Relations, (ICCR) at the Indian Embassy here on Friday, along with Indian Ambassador, Vikram Misri.

Sanskrit teaching programme started at the Peking University a century ago but Sanskrit research and teaching in China has a history of over 2,000 years, Wang said.

When Buddhism came to China from India, Chinese Buddhist monks started translating Indian texts into Chinese.

"From that moment, Sanskrit study and research started. China has a long history of Sanskrit tradition, till that time outside of India, China has the longest and strongest scholarship in the world," he said.

Over 100 Chinese scholars studied in Nalanda University until it began to decline in 11th Century, Wang said.

"Sanskrit is a major language of Indian culture. More and more people in China are interested in Indian culture and Sanskrit is a good way to learn more about Indian culture," he said.

He said Sanskrit was the most important language through which Chinese learned about Hinduism, Buddhism, ancient Indian medicine, astronomy and mathematics.

"While Buddhism declined in India, it became very strong in China and has become part of Chinese culture," he told PTI.

Once the language became strong in China, the need to go to India to learn it declined, he said.

"China gradually became centre of Buddhism in Asia. In India, Buddhism has declined and in China it grew," he said, adding that thanks to numerous scholars who visited India over the centuries, China has some rare Sanskrit scriptures brought by them, which may not be available in India.

Y.E. Shaoyong, Associate Prof of Sanskrit in Peking University, said the Sanskrit studies in China are booming. His department now has 10 scholars specialising in the language while 200 others studied as part of the subject for their graduate programme.

The job prospects of the Sanskrit learning students are also good as most of them pursue academic career in Buddhist studies, specially its history, he said.

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