Sanskrit Not a 'Dead' Language - HC
By Legal Correspondent
The Hindu
January 2, 1998
The Madras High Court has held that "Sanskrit is not a dead language" and observed that the reasoning of the Tamil Nadu Government that Sanskrit had ceased to be a language in use "is nothing but ignorance of reality."
Mr. Justice S. S. Subramani, allowing a writ petition, referred to, a Supreme Court decision, according to which. Sanskrit was the mother of all Indo-Aryan languages and it was this language in which our Vedas, Puranas and Upanishads had been written and in which Kalidas, Bhavbuti, Banabhatta and Dandi wrote their classics.
The judge, in a recent order, also said that the teachings of Sankaracharya, Ramanuja, Madhwacharya. Nimbark and Vallabhacharya would not have been woven into the fabric of Indian culture, if Sanskrit would not have been available to them as a medium of expressing their thoughts.
The judge pointed out that the Sanskrit Commission, in its report, had observed that "in Chennal itself, it (Commission) found that both in unrecognised schools and private classes, non- Brahmins and even a few Muslims and Christians, studied Sanskrit. In one of the high schools of Chidambaram, a Muslim student was reported to have stood first in Sanskrit and in another school, there were Harijans among Sanskrit students."
The Commission, the judge said, also observed that there was an awakening of the cultural consciousness and a keen awareness of the importance of Sanskrit among people and in almost all cities and important towns there were privately organised associations for promotion of Sanskrit.
The judge noted that the, apex court which discussed the Commission's report had explained as to how the Government of India had taken a policy decision for promoting Sanskrit and how for propagating secularism, Sanskrit had played and continued to play an important part.
The State Education Secretary, the judge said, had not considered any of the above facts and simply said that Sanskrit was a dead language. It could not be true in view of the various pronouncements of the Supreme Court, the judge said and held that Sanskrit was not a dead language.
The judge quashed the order passed by the Education Secretary, rejecting the application of Bala Seva Educational and Charitable Trust, which sought minority status for the college run by it.

The judge directed the respondents to reconsider the entire matter and pass final orders on the petitioner's application within a month.
The petitioner-Trust applied to the Government on June 25 seeking minority status to its engineering college, on the ground that all the trustees were well versed in Sanskrit and committed to the cause of establishing Sanskrit as an important means of communication in view of its intrinsic capability of being adopted to modern technology. By an order dated August 13, the claim of the Trust was rejected on the ground that Sanskrit language had ceased to be in use. It was this order that was challenged by the Trust.
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