New Delhi, Nov 23:At a time when Human Resource and Development (HRD) Minister Smriti Irani's decision to replace the study of German as a third language in Kendriya Vidyalayas with Sanskrit is creating controversies, her colleague and Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti took the argument further by saying the ancient Indian language in course of time replace English as link language.
"This problem will go away only when we adopt Sanskrit as the link language. Sanskrit is a truly national language. In every village of India, you will find two or three people who are extremely knowledgeable about Sanskrit. The same cannot be said of English. The fact is that there are more people in India who can speak and understand Sanskrit than people who can speak or understand English," she was further quoted as saying.
Earlier in the day, taking on her critics, HRD Minister Smriti Irani dismissed charges that education was being saffronised even as she turned down demands that Sanskrit be made compulsory in the curriculum.
"Those who accuse me of being a RSS mascot or RSS representative possibly want to deflect the attention from the good work that we have done...This agenda will be flagged and I will be whipped for as long as there is a need to keep attention diverted away from the good work. I am ready for it. I have no problem," she told PTI journalists at the agency headquarters in New Delhi.
Answering questions on the controversial decision to replace German with Sanskrit as the third language in some 500 Centrally-run Kendriya Vidyalayas, Irani said that teaching of German under an MoU signed in 2011 had been in violation of the Constitution.
An investigation has already been launched to find out how the MoU came to be signed. Responding to demands that Sanskrit be made a compulsory language, the Minister said that the three language formula was very clear that any of the 23 Indian languages listed in Schedule 8 of the Constitution could be opted for. But she reiterated that German will continue to be taught as a foreign language.
"...we are teaching French, we are teaching Mandarin, we teach German in the same way. For the life in me, I can't understand why people are not understanding what I am saying," she said. Irani had earlier strongly defended the decision to replace German with Sanskrit as the third language, saying the existing arrangement was in violation of the Constitution.
With inputs from PTI