Varanasi has a special place as a centre of culture and as a holy place of learning. The veterans of Sanskrit have glorified it by accepting it as the field of their work and labour. Sanskrit is an invaluable heritage of this country. It is the original source of much that is in our culture and civilisation.
In fact the history of Sanskrit language and literature is the history of the intellectual progress of this nation. The spirit of India manifested itself in this language and it became the mother, sister and nurse of several Indian languages. The glory of Sanskrit spread in foreign lands also. Several foreign scholars came to India to study Sanskrit books. Interest in Sanskrit learning increased among scholars in foreign countries. Today there are special institutions for study and research in Sanskrit in countries like Germany, USA, USSR, France and Italy.
Sanskrit gave strong foundations to the social, cultural and spiritual life of this nation. From time to time there were changes and revolutions in the field of thought, but Sanskrit never ceased to be a link language. Even today, it has a special place in the cultural life of this nation, as most Indian languages still draw sustenance and strength from Sanskrit literature.
It is time that Sanskrit once again played an important part in the life of the nation as it has done before. Our duty does not end with praising the golden past. The past can be an inspiration only, and it is the present we have to live in.
It is remarkable that thousands of scholars worked for the development of Sanskrit without caring for any material gain We are fortunate that many such scholars are still with us. We should not become lethargic in our service to Sanskrit. It would appear that in some fields foreigners have done more service to Sanskrit than Indians. A language can be enriched only by the labours of its followers, at home and abroad. Government protection and social stimulation are important but the history of Sanskrit proves that the best Sanskrit literature was independent of all this. Scholars worked for Sanskrit in a selfless spirit, only for the glory of the language. Hundreds of them were not even eager for fame. Many scholars did not even mention their names in their books and thousands of them cared little for money.
It is necessary today that research on the different aspects of Sanskrit should be done in a modern way. Sanskrit works should be translated in different foreign languages and the store of Sanskrit knowledge should be increased. More and more books should be written in Sanskrit on modern science and learning. The deep knowledge of Sanskrit which is being destroyed should be preserved. Simple, illustrated books, free from the burden of grammar, should be produced in Sanskrit. Only Sanskrit scholars can undertake this task.
By this I do not mean that the Government has no role in this. The Central Government and the State Governments know their responsibility. The Central Government has established the Sanskrit Commission and the Central Sanskrit Board and has done much for the development of Sanskrit by implementing their proposals, by establishing the Central Sanskrit Vidyapeeth at Tirupati and by honouring Sanskrit scholars. The Government is giving assistance for developing the All India Sanskrit Vidyapeeth at Delhi into an international Sanskrit institute and for expanding the Dr Rajendra Prasad Central Sanskrit Library. Our State Governments too have paid attention to this after Independence. We are trying to give even more attention to the development of Sanskrit.