The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Sanskrit from Class I in MP

Bhopal, Oct. 31: Madhya Pradesh has made teaching of Sanskrit compulsory in all government and private schools from Class I to V. At present, the subject is taught from Class VI.

Education minister Laxman Singh Gaud said the order would take effect from the next academic session starting April. “The learning of Sanskrit is the core of Indian culture and heritage. I am fulfilling a long-standing demand,” Gaud added.

The move drew mixed reactions. Madhya Pradesh Christian Association spokesman Anand Muttangal dubbed the order a “symbolic” step.

“The order will help children understand the language better. In the long run, the glorious status that Sanskrit enjoyed for ages will be strengthened,” he added.

But noted Urdu poet and chairman of the Madhya Pradesh Urdu Academy, Bashir Badr, said Sanskrit should be taught only by “skilled hands”, suggesting that there were not enough trained teachers.

“Otherwise, the mother of all Indian languages will lose its sanctity.”

Retired Urdu professor Aziz Ansari said it was a good idea. “There is nothing religious in learning Urdu, the same is true of Sanskrit.”

He pointed out that Sanskrit figures on the curriculum of several institutes, including Delhi’s Jamia Millia Islamia and Aligarh Muslim University.

Bhopal maulana Fazlur Rahman said promoting Sanskrit in schools will improve knowledge of Hindu culture.

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