Sanskrit classes at Capital homes

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Sanskrit classes at Capital homes

Abu Dhabi - Samskrita Bharati operates across the UAE, mostly from homes, and teaches Sanskrit for free.


Ashwani Kumar

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Published: Sat 18 May 2019, 10:33 PM

Last updated: Sun 19 May 2019, 12:36 AM

Housewives in Abu Dhabi are turning their homes into classrooms to teach Sanskrit - an ancient Indian language with more than 3,000 years of history. The classrooms are run by Samskrita Bharati, a New Delhi-headquartered non-profit organisation working to revive Sanskrit.
Samskrita Bharati operates across the UAE, mostly from homes, and teaches Sanskrit for free.
"First housewives learn and then share the joy of learning with children. And we are not charging any fees. There are classes being held in 15 to 16 homes in Abu Dhabi. Housewives inform students about schedules through WhatsApp. A class with some seven to eight students is held at the Indian Embassy every Friday. 
"Demand for learning Sanskrit is on the rise here. We need more teachers as awareness is spreading," said Kalyani Venkataraman, who leads Samskrita Bharati in Abu Dhabi. Courses are divided into four levels, and some 500 housewives have passed the certification course so far.
"There is an entry level, 10-day spoken course. After this, they can attend a weekly practice class to converse in Sanskrit. There are certification courses, where online exams are held every six months. In the past two years, some 150 housewives have passed the fourth-level exam, which is equivalent to a diploma."
Sanskrit not religious language
Today, Sanskrit speakers make up less than one per cent of the Indian population, and the language is mostly used by priests during religious ceremonies. But Venkataraman insists that Sanskrit is not a religious language. 
"We need to break the notion that Sanskrit is a religious language. It's just like yoga. Anyone can learn," she said. 
Indian epic works like the Ramayana, the Mahabharata, the Bhagavata Purana and many others are in Sanskrit. Venkataraman said reading and understanding the original works will help develop good values in everyone and pave the way to end divisions in society.
"Our epic texts are translated into many languages but one can understand the exact meaning only by reading the original work written in Sanskrit. A translated work always involves the mind of the translator. 
"It's not just for children, parents should also learn Sanskrit. The language shouldn't be made compulsory, but people should realise its significance. Going back to our roots will help end all divisions in India," she said. 
Samskrita Bharati recently held the annual Samskritotsava 2019 at the Indian Embassy.
"We don't compel anyone to learn Sanskrit, but we want to revive this language which is the root of many other languages," Venkataraman added.

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