To popularise the Sanskrit language in Jammu and Kashmir, an ‘education on wheels’ programme has been launched where teachers will visit households in villages to educate people about the ancient language. The initiative, “Mobile Sanskrit gurukul’, by Jammu-based NGO Vedic Sansthan Trust was started in December last year and has covered over a dozen hamlets in Jammu.
The Trust says it wanted to share the treasure of knowledge with people and provide non-formal education in Sanskrit, one of the oldest living languages in the world. “We are reaching out to urban and rural populations to teach them Sanskrit… Our aim is to impart education of Sanskrit to all by qualified teachers by reaching out to every home in rural and urban areas,” Trust president Mahant Rohit Shastri says.
As the mobile gurukul moves from village to village to hold classes mostly for youths and children in Sanskrit, the response has been encouraging, Shastri says. “We request other villages also to call us and benefit from this initiative. We are happy to see people of all castes and creeds participating in this function,” he says.
The NGO has visited over a dozen hamlets in Jammu and mostly school-going children in villages have come forward to learn Sanskrit. The target is to educate most of the students in Sanskrit in a phased manner, Shastri says. They have two vans and 10 teachers who spend 4-5 days in each village panchayat and also rope in schools in their effort. Shastri says they had earlier conducted classes to teach Sanskrit to the business community of Jammu.
“People have been enthusiastic about this concept… They are coming forward voluntarily to get an education. We are distributing free Sanskrit books among the people”, he says. A student of class 11 said he was drawn to study the language when he learnt about the ‘mobile gurukul’.
“I was going home after school and I saw this ‘Mobile Sanskrit Gurukul’. I thought that I should also learn the Sanskrit language and I got the book from there. I am a student in the 11th class and I feel we should also learn Sanskrit like English,” the student said.
Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha, at the launch of the mobile Sanskrit gurukul, had observed that Sanskrit is not confined to religious texts and offers a complete knowledge structure of ancient India that covers great works of scientists and experts in medicine, botany and mathematics.
Appreciating the Trust for preserving, developing and propagating the Sanskrit language and the message of the ancient sages, Sinha called for working together with a flexible and non-formal approach to popularise Sanskrit.