One-of-a-kind online Spoken Sanskrit course jointly organized by IIT Roorkee and Samskrita Bharati ends on a high note

Roorkee: A one-of-a-kind initiative – an online Spoken Sanskrit Course witnessed a spectacular closing with the enthusiastic participation of over 5000 delegates from 32 countries. This initiative titled ‘Subhashitam Samskritam’ was organized online by Sanskrit Club, IIT Roorkee, and Samskrita Bharati, a non-governmental organization. The valedictory ceremony witnessed the august presence of Padma Bhushan awardee and former Chief Election Commissioner Dr. N Gopalaswami as Chief Guest and Dr. P. Nandakumar, the course designer and International Coordinator, Samskrita Bharati as Special Guest. Shri B V R Mohan Reddy, Chairman, Board of Governors, IIT Roorkee presided over the function.

In July last year, the initiative was lauded by Hon’ble Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Hon’ble Education Minister Dr. Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ for playing an instrumental role in enabling participants to develop a keen interest in the language.

Sanskrit Club of IIT Roorkee now plans to launch a new course for the participants who have aced all five levels and also an online spoken Sanskrit camp for teachers.

On the occasion, Chief Guest Dr. N Gopalaswami, said: “Sanskrit is a wealth of knowledge and was the popular medium for intellectual activities in the ancient era of 1500-1600 BC. It is appropriate to look into various Sanskrit texts and bring out their relevance during the current time. Sanskrit composition has various forms from Paheli to Shreshtha Kavita, with one word having a dozen meanings. On this auspicious occasion of Makar Sankranti, a new yuga of Sanskritam has begun and let it flourish.”

Prof. Ajit K. Chaturvedi, Director, IIT Roorkee, said: “I congratulate the Sanskrit Club, IIT Roorkee and Samskrita Bharati for the phenomenal success of the initiative. It speaks volumes of the tremendous efforts put in by organizers. A uniqueness of Sanskrit is the fact that words in a sentence can be arranged in any order, without altering the meaning of the sentence.” He cited anecdotes of his experience while learning Sanskrit during his school days and also read a testimonial of a participant who applauded the idea, the methodology, leveraging of technology, among many other facets of the course. He called upon the Sanskrit Club, IIT Roorkee to revisit Sanskrit literature that would be relevant for current students from the research perspective.”

“It is indeed remarkable and laudable that a technology institute has embarked on this initiative to rekindle and encourage the study of Sanskrit. The attempt to transform the Deva Bhasha or language of the Gods into a Vyayaharika Bhasha or a colloquial language deserves kudos. It is amazing that they have used the recent online technology to teach an ancient language originating as early as 1700-1200 BCE to 5000+ students from 32 countries around the world. I like to thank Prof. Chaturvedi and his team for relentless efforts to create beneficial initiative to the society and living up to IIT Roorkee’s motto – ‘Shramamvinaa, Na Kimapi, Saadhyam” i.e. Nothing is possible without hard work” said Shri B. V. R. Mohan Reddy, Chairman, Board of Governors, IIT Roorkee.

The ceremony concluded with a vote of thanks by Prof. Anil Kumar Gourishetty, Faculty coordinator of Sanskrit club, IIT Roorkee.

The programme was launched on the auspicious day of Guru Purnima (5th July 2020) by the Sanskrit Club of IIT Roorkee in association with Samskrita Bharati and was open to all with a workable knowledge of an Indian language anywhere in the world. The objective of the initiative was to create awareness about the significance of Sanskrit among the young generation. Level-1 of the course imparted spoken Sanskrit lessons free of cost via the WebEx platform and YouTube live. To handle doubt clearance and discussion with thousands of participants, methods like “question hour” were evolved after creating a Telegram channel of over 5000 subscribers along with multiple WebEx sessions for a direct interaction. The examination for Level-1 was conducted online, and 5100+ students scored above the cutoff, thereby receiving a certificate and becoming eligible to formally register for Levels 2 -5.

Levels 2-5 covered usage and grammar concepts in Sanskrit and were taught using 108 Subhashitams as examples. The medium of instruction was Sanskrit itself and the base set by the first level helped participants understand the course content in Sanskrit itself while the study material also provided translations for those who needed. At the end of each level, online exams were conducted. Prorated marks from these exams and the marks obtained in a final Oral exam that is ongoing will together be considered for the final evaluation. Above 2000 people are expected to clear the final evaluation. All course material is being made available through the Sanskrit club’s website. The 79 lectures and supporting videos related to the course available on YouTube have received aggregate views of over 1 million so far.

Apart from the curriculum, extra-curricular activities such as SamskritaSabhaa, Kahoot based quizzes, Sanskrit club has also played important role in launching the SAMARPANAM (SAMskritaaya ARPANAM – a network of students and faculty members from institutions of national importance to promote Sanskrit).

 

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