Professor Dilip Kumar Mohanta will join as the first vice chancellor of Sanskrit University on Wednesday. Mohanta is currently a professor in the department of Philosophy, Calcutta University.
The initiative to upgrade Sanskrit College into a university was taken by the Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. She set up a committee headed by scholar Nrisingha Prasad Bhaduri that recommended for up-gradation.
The syllabus will also be updated and the traditional system of education called “Tol” will co-exist with modern education. The study of Sanskrit which has earned immensely popularly in many Western countries was stopped by the erstwhile Left Front government in a systematic and calculated way.
CPI(M) leaders like Anil Biswas who was a powerful member of the senate of Calcutta University and looked after the education cell of the party believed that: “Sanskrit was a dead language which was associated with religion” completely forgetting that the highest thoughts in Indian Philosophy, medicine and science had been written in Sanskrit. The Epics including Ramayana and Mahabharata, drama had been written in Sanskrit. Because of neglect “Tols” and “Chatuspathis” became nearly defunct.
In the University, the ancient science and philosophy would be taught, keeping in mind its relevance to modern society. Many ancient books on environment like Briksha Ayurveda which deals with various diseases of trees will be taught. There will be research on Ayurveda. It may be mentioned that in Charaka, there is reference to what we now call Type II Diabetes. One is amazed to read Arthashastra of Kautilya or Kamashastra of Vatsayana. Academics said that along with Sanskrit, the study of languages like Pali and Prakrit, Indology and Ancient History will go up.
It may be mentioned that at Hindenburg University in Germany there is a full- fledged Sanskrit department. In many US universities, the language is taught. Sanskrit College which was upgraded into a university was founded on January 1, 1824 during the Governor Generalship of Lord Amherst. It was set up following the recommendation of HT James Princep and Thomas Babington Macaulay.
Mahamahopadhyay Mahesh Chandra Nayaratna was the principal of Sanskrit College for 18 years. Pandit Iswarchandra Vidyasagar who was the principal of the college in 1851 opened its doors to non Brahmin students.
Some of the illustrious alumni of the college are Surendranath Dasgupta, Gaurinath Shastri, Bimal Krishna Matilal, former Spaulding Professor of All Souls College, Oxford and Bishnupada Bhattacharya among many others.