Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, the Union Human Resource Development Minister said in Lok Sabha on Thursday, December 12 that Sanskrit is the "soul of the country" and put forward a bill proposing to upgrade three Sanskrit deemed universities into central universities.
The Minister persuaded the House to pass the bill - Central Sanskrit Universities Bill, 2019 - by saying that Sanskrit had contributed to India becoming a world teacher - 'Vishwa Guru".
He said that Sanskrit has a worldly presence and that 250 universities across 100 countries teach Sanskrit, 14 of them being from Germany.
Members of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) party raised their objections to the remarks of the HRD minister who cited scholars, saying that Sanskrit is a scientific language. They asked him if he was a linguist to state Sanskrit was the greatest language. Nishank then replied that all Indian languages are the best, including Tamil and Telugu.
The three universities in the question are Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan, Sri Lal Bahadur Shastri Rashtriya Sanskrit Vidyapeeth, and Rashtriya Sanskrit Vidyapeeth Tirupati.
The oldest among these is the Rashtriya Sanskrit Vidyapeeth in Tirupati, which was founded in 1961, with Lal Bahadur Shastri Rashtriya Sanskrit Vidyapeeth following next (1962) and lastly Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan which was found in 1970. The University Grants Commission (UGC) granted all three of them a ‘deemed to be University’ status.
Sanskrit scholars from all over India have been demanding the three universities to be granted central university status. The three institutions will be able to grant affiliations to other colleges and attract a bigger student body with the upgraded title.
The bill aims to enhance the status of these universities and boost postgraduate, doctoral and post-doctoral education and research "in Sanskrit and Shastraic education".
(With Inputs from ANI)