Teaching Sanskrit through its epics – St James’, London

St James Independent Schools of London has for more than two decades had Sanskrit as an integral part of their syllabus – indeed a compulsory subject for junior pupils – citing the benefits of the language for children’s development.  The school has a mixture of Indian and English students, and is a Christian establishment; its interest in Sanskrit derives from the language’s intrinsic merit as a ‘perfected language’ (as the term ‘samskrta’ of course denotes) rather than any religious agenda. 

Although the junior school uses many traditional Indian techniques of instruction, including recitation and Tagore-inspired outdoor classrooms, it advocates a different approach in terms of content.  Instead of the rote learning of Sankrit’s prolific grammar favoured in India, the school prefers to use stories from the epics and puranas to teach its pupils.  Indeed, in the absence of any existing material with this approach, St James’ has even developed its own textbooks which introduce Sanskrit beginners to the language via the Ramayana and Mahabharata.  Might Sanskrit prove more popular a subject in India if it were taught like this?


5 Responses to “Teaching Sanskrit through its epics – St James’, London”

  1. 1 navankura June 9, 2008 at 6:36 pm

    I think St James Independent Schools of London is doing a wonderful job. And, I too feel as you do – though Grammar is a must for studying Sanskrit, the language may become more popular in the land of its birth if students are first exposed to its beauty than the rigour. Besides, for those who prefer it, there is a wealth of ‘secular’ literature in Sanskrit, apart from the puranas, epics, etc. Eg: Meghadhootam of Kalidasa, Niti Sataka of Bhartrhari, Vishnu Sharma’s Panchatantra and many plays like Bhasa’s Svapna Vasavadattam, Sudraka’s Mrichchakatikam … the list can go on.

  2. 2 sriramM December 5, 2009 at 11:07 pm

    Respected sir,

    very happy to know about teaching samskrit.We organisation called samskrita bharati dedicated itself for the propogation of samskrit for the past 25 years is doing a wonderful job in the field of teaching samskrit.

    In the tamilnadu chapter of india we have introduced a syllabus for teaching samskrit from class 2to 7.We teach culture through samskrit.Iwe can be contacted in the following address,

    Samskrita Bharati,282,Railway feeder Road,P.A.C.R.Bhavanam,Rajapalayam-626117.

    Thanking you

  3. 3 Vyas Tushar February 11, 2011 at 12:24 pm

    I am a master in sanskrit Grammer

  4. 4 C.S. Ragothaman June 11, 2014 at 3:57 pm

    I am a student of Level 2 parichaya .
    I have obtained books from Rajapalayam.
    But now i am in London and will be back to india only during sept.
    Interested to continue my studies thro mails or other mode and am
    willing to write the Exam in Jan 2015. Please advice how to proceed.

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