When India attained Independence, it was thought, quite naturally, that the language and literature in which the national culture heritage was enshrined, which was so intimately connected with all the spoken languages of the country and whose inexhaustible resources the latter continued to draw upon, would attain a place of importance in the scheme of things. Such was also the expectation of leading Sanskritists in the West, one of whom, for example, Prof. D. H. H. Ingalls of Harvard University, said : "For if India would be herself she must revive the study of Sanskrit. It is Sanskrit literature and science, Sanskrit philosophy and religion that have given India the only free unity she ever possessed." Unfortunately trends and policies developed which led to the steady deterioration of Sanskrit as a subject of study, culminating in one of the States abolishing it from the language scheme. However, even among litterateurs in the regional languages, love and respect for Sanskrit and appreciation of it as the classical language and storehouse for all the other languages of the country have not been wanting. Elder Statesmen and senior scholars who were concerned with the situation were able to move the Central authorities to appoint an official Sanskrit Commission and in pursuance of its recommendations, set up a Central Sanskrit Board in the Ministry of Education for taking care of the study of Sanskrit and promoting its interest in all respects.
1. The Purpose of Sanskrit Studies Today, p. 15, Journal of Oriental Research, Madras, XXII. 1952.
The author of the papers in the present collection has long been closely connected with the activities for the preservation and fostering of Sanskrit studies in several voluntary organisations in the country and the official bodies mentioned above. From time to time, he had contributed papers on the value of Sanskrit as a subject of study, as a source of knowledge and as a key to understand the history and culture of the country. Some of these papers appeared in popular dailies and periodicals and others were presented at learned Conferences and Seminars. They cover all aspects of Sanskrit from its place in language-study in the Schools to the appraisal and appreciation of its role in the larger spheres of education, research and nation-building work. The survey made in these papers of Sanskrit through the ages and the sway of its culture over the greater part of Asia, and of its relation to the languages and cultures of the widespread Indo-European world in the West and the new inter-national importance that the study of Sanskrit has thereby gained today in the academic world, will serve to project correctly and in full proportions, the image of Sanskrit.• The pageant of Sanskrit presented here will have its own appeal to students of languages and literatures as well as to students of the history of cultures and civilizations.
Sanskrit is. not a classical language in the way in which Greek and Latin are ; it has been alive in a extra-ordinary way, its character and connection with the living present being unique. The modern terminology in science and administration is being built with its resources ; its concepts and ideologies-which have endowed the Nation with its characteristic values-have animated all the modern leaders and architects of Indian Freedom. That a knowledge of Sanskrit and its literature and the thought embodied in it is necessary to understand contemporary India is being increasingly realised by international research scholars. The testimony of the younger scholars from modern Russia particularly bears a special significance in this respect : V. V. Ivanov and V. N. Toporov say in their book ' Sanskrit " : " Sanskrit has been the element which united the Indian sub-continent throughout the whole of India's history. Also, thanks to the unifying role of Sanskrit in time, the cultural complex of ancient India, preserved in Sanskrit texts, has remained the treasure of India today. Moreover, Sanskrit is not merely the factor uniting India in time and space but the living symbol of Indian culture. ... The very notion of India is hardly conceivable without Sanskrit which has symbolised and cemented the unity of Indian culture and history throughout several millenia." (Pp. 26-7). Another of the younger Russian Sanskritists and Indologists A. Y. Sirkin writes' : " Our scholars and the Soviet reader look upon classical Indian literature not merely as an unmatched source of knowledge about India's past, but also as the key to a better understanding of the contemporary world of the Indian people." That this is the case not only with the contemporary world of India, but also with that of South-East Asia has been shown in a number of recent studies.
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