Learn Sanskrit the traditional way
Hema Vijay has the details to the various courses in Sanskrit offered by a 106-year-old college.
Are you planning to head towards the north to study Sanskrit, or research Sanskrit literature? Well, actually, many students from north India and outside the country are now heading to Chennai, to the 106-year-old Madras Sanskrit College for Sanskrit Study and Research.
The biggest charm of the college is that it has a treasure trove of over 50,000 books that includes many rare ones, journals and over 100 ancient and rare palm-leaf manuscripts in Sanskrit.
“Most of our college students take to teaching as their profession at the school, college, or university level. Many of our former students are working as lecturers, professors and even vice-chancellors all over India and abroad.
Those who have a sound knowledge of English and good communication skills have also switched over to marketing, software, business administration and other fields”, mentions the college’s Principal Dr N V Deviprasad.
A range of study options
The Sanskrit college offers a range of full time courses that include a two-year foundation programme, the Prak-siromani, equivalent of Class 11 and 12 put together. This course can be taken up by students who have completed the SSLC exam or the Veda Adhyayana (Samhita), or Aagama studies from any school.
The other two full-time courses offered by this institution are a three-year Siromani Madhyama — BA programme and a two-year Sanskrit Siromani — MA programme. To be eligible for the Siromani Madhyama, students must have passed a higher secondary exam, and must possess some knowledge of this ancient language.
Students must have either completed the ‘Siromani Madhyama’ or its equivalent BA Sanskrit programme to take up the Sanskrit Siromani programme (Master’s level).
At the undergraduate level, the college has made it mandatory for subjects such as Computer Science, English and Hindi to be included to meet the contemporary needs of a professional life and to develop the communication skills of students.
Some of the popular initiatives of the college are its part-time programmes. Such as:
nCertificate Course in Sanskrit (duration of six months, and conducted thrice a week, between 5 to 7 pm)
Diploma Course in Sanskrit (of one year duration and taught between 5 to 7pm)
While no prior knowledge of Sanskrit is required for these short-term courses, students must have completed their higher secondary examination before applying for the same. There is no upper age-limit for taking up the certificate courses — these typically welcome working professionals, students, home makers, retired individuals and others ranging in age from 18 to those in their eighties!
The college has a highly accomplished faculty that includes 14 assistant professors and three research professors who teach sastras like Mimamsa, Vedanta, Sahitya, Jyotisha, Vyakarana and Nyaya, besides a faculty team for teaching Hindi, English and Computer Science.
A way of life
“This institution promotes Sanskrit as a living language and all the students talk in Sanskrit during class hours,” says Dr N V Deviprasad. In fact, students of the full time programme are dressed in the traditional way (in a dhoti) during class hours, and sastras are taught the traditional way. The Students’ Literary Association of the college conducts several literary meetings and debates every year and students are encouraged to talk fluently in Sanskrit on both traditional and modern topics.
The college also holds guest lectures for the benefit of its students (this is open to the public too), and the distinguished speakers at this college had once included Mahatma Gandhi, Dr Rabindranath Tagore, Sarvepalli Dr Radhakrishnan and Dr Annie Besant, among others.
Those interested may contact: The Madras Sanskrit College, No. 84, R H Road, Mylapore, Chennai – 600 004. (044)24980421 or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org