IIT Kharagpur
IIT KharagpurWikimedia commons

The Indian Institutes of Technologies (IITs) have been asked by the government to teach the Vedas and Sanskrit to students for a better understanding of science and technology as elaborated in the ancient scriptures, reported PTI. A written reply to this effect has been filed by Union Minister of Human Resource Development Smriti Irani to the lower house of Parliament.

The reply detailed that a panel chaired by former chief election commissioner (CEC) N.Gopalaswami had suggested in its report that the premier engineering colleges can help in the "study of science and technology as reflected in Sanskrit literature." This could be possible "with interdisciplinary study of Sanskrit and modern subjects and its corresponding subjects in Sanskrit literature," the report added.

The Indian Express reported on April 3 that the ministry had dispatched an advisory to all IITs seeking them to consider the idea of Sanskrit language as an elective course for their students. The institutes were asked to seek the approval of their respective board of governors for the proposal.

"Atharavaveda, Vaisheshika Darshana etc. are, it is acknowledged, the treasure house of scientific concepts which are hitherto studied from Science point of view. There are hundreds of works like Siddhanta Shiromani, Vriksha Ayurveda, Upavana Vinoda, Mayamatam, etc. to name a few, which are of great relevance in the context of research and innovation," the former CEC-led report had stated. It also added that the proposed cell for Sanskrit studies should offer it for students in the colleges for credits.

An advisory issued for introduction of Sanskrit language during BJP-led National Democratic Alliance's earlier tenure in 2000 had initiated IIT Bombay and IIT Gandhinagar to have cells and courses specific to Sanskrit studies.

IIT Madras director Bhaskar Ramamurthi told the daily that the new advisory will consider the ministry's advisory after it receives a communication. "We'll forward it to the humanities department to assess the demand for learning of Sanskrit among students. If there is a need, we can definitely start a course. We already have one on Chinese languages," he added.

A committee entrusted with a job of recommending a 10-year road map for promotion of Sanskrit had also suggested the setting up of Sanskrit cells in all IITs, NITs, IISERs and central universities.