While India is busy squabbling over secularism, nepotism, reservation and such uselessness and children not taught our Indigenous roots, the German scholars are into an outstanding effort to bring back our Indian ancestors wisdom upfront.
Some of the top universities in Germany teach the Vedic “Sanskrit”, having majority of students coming from the US, Italy, UK and the rest of Europe. Indology and Sanskrit have fascinated German scholars and researchers. The study of Sanskrit and Indian culture was initiated in various German universities at the beginning of the 19th century, first in Jena in 1817 and then in Bonn in 1818.
First ever German Scholar of Sanskrit was Heinrich Roth (1620-1668) who mastered the Sanskrit language during his stay in India.
Later it was Indologist, Georg Forster (1754-1794) translated the famous 5th century drama by “Kalidasa Shakuntalam” into German. It was this translation that triggered an inspiration in the Germans to know and study the Indian culture & languages.
14 of the top universities teach Sanskrit, classical and modern Indology in Germany. Apart from Germany, the majority of students come from the US, Italy, the UK and the rest of Europe.
“So far, 254 students from 34 countries have participated in this course. Every year we have to reject many applications. One can better understand evolution of politics and economics by studying Arthashastra by Chanakya,” said Professor Dr. Axel Michaels, head of classical Indology at the university.
The institute is also offering a course on ‘human physiology and psychology in the early Upanishads’ by Anand Mishra, an IIT mathematics graduate who took up the study of Sanskrit for his research on evolving a more grammatically suitable computing language.
While German scholars and their institutions have done pioneering work in Indology studies in the past, the discipline is increasingly facing criticism from some quarters; some experts, who control the purse strings, see it as an inconsequential dissipation whose utility in terms of tangible returns is questionable.
Sanskrit, often described in subdued tones as a “dead tongue”, raises doubts about its practicality in modern usage. Consequently, many Indology-teaching institutions face the fiscal axe from their education-funding authorities.
Dr. Hans Harder, the head of the University of Heidelberg’s modern South Asian languages Department, says:
Bangla like Sanskrit must be preserved or it could become endangered due to the on rush of English. A good part of the global cultural heritage might become extinct if major Indian languages become affected by Indian English, which had become poorer based on his observation.
Sanskrit is a living language and there are still so many things to be discovered including the details of the civilization in the Indus Valley through Sanskrit.
This deep interest in India and its culture finally led to the foundation of the study of Indology & comparative linguistics in German Universities.
We Indians must be ashamed, German scholars and their attempt to grow and nurture Indian treasures is just beyond amazing. It is our duty to learn and inspire by this act by them. Their attempt is to not just study the history but also preserve it along the way & globalize it.