KV's language dilemma: The mysterious connection between Sanskrit, German; and how right is HRD?

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New Delhi, Nov 17: Last week, HRD minister Smriti Irani, in a mid-session disaster, directed to pull out German language as a third subject in all Kendra Vidyalaya schools. While teachers rue about how the move will affect 70,000 students across 500 KVs from classes 6 to 8 who will be asked to switch from German to Sanskrit in the middle of their session, Smriti cites national interest, emphasizing that the amendment was made to correct "violation that was inherited as legacy by her ministry from the UPA government".

A forgotten connection

Interestingly, the chaos and the confusion has reopened an unturned chapter in literature and history that is still being debated. The connection between Sanskrit and German.

Sanskrit in KVs

While students and their parents are aligned toward the foreign language for the pride of learning it, few know that German and Sanskrit have an uncanny connection dating back to 4,500 years since the emergence of the Silk Route.

Many believe blindly that Greek and Latin are the origins of English etymology; however, experts believe otherwise. Sanskrit is one of the most important languages. But it has been ignored due to ignorance, bigotry, intellectual racism or all of them.

The road to enlightenment

The Silk Route was not merely a trading route for spices and textiles, but it also formed an important part of cultural exchange between Europe and Asia. Asia opened its windows to the Europe, especially in the field of religion, culture and language.

This led to common usage of words and phrases between Sanskrit and other European languages.

How right is Smriti Irani?

Technically speaking, the move of withdrawing German mid-session was a whimsical thing to do, especially when students were preparing themselves for their annual exams.

They would now have to cope with the additional burden of unlearning German and learning Sanskrit within just 3 months before the exams.

Nevertheless, on second thoughts, if the directive came at the beginning of a session, this would not have been a bad idea altogether. Knowing one's own heritage before stepping into foreign lands would have strengthened our control over our country's language and heritage.

The Economic Times states Irani as saying," the MoU between KVS and the Goethe-Institut of Max Mueller Bhawan, which was signed in 2011, when Kapil Sibal was the HRD minister, was against the national education policy and the National Curriculum Framework which allows only an Indian language to be taught as a third language in schools."

She said,"How could I have made a foreign language a third language in schools," the minister told reporters at a press interaction held on Friday.

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