Sanskrit gaining popularity in US, Europe


New Delhi : What do the French Institute in Pondicherry, El Colegio de Mexico, Harvard University and Tel Aviv University have in common? All of them offer courses in Sanskrit in different parts of the world.

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According to a list of institutes offering Sanskrit made available at the University of Iowa in the US via its MyWeb network, many institutions in the US and Europe offer Sanskrit studies.

MyWeb is a facility created for all Iowa university faculty, staff and students for publishing individual, academic related web pages.

A page on "Academic Sanskrit Studies around the World" is available at It has been posted by Pankaj Jain, who teaches Sanskrit at Rutgers University at New Brunswick in the US.

It shows an impressive list of resources available on Sanskrit education globally.

The site offers information about the institutions in India, North America, Australia, Europe (Austria, Belgium, Britain, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Russia, Sweden, Switzerland), the Middle East, Japan and Thailand.

In addition, the list also covers summer courses, tools and material for home study.

North America – primarily the US – has the largest number of Sanskrit academic institutions, according to the list.

The El Colegio de Mexico, Brown University, Columbia University, Concordia University in Canada, Cornell University, Emory University, Johns Hopkins University, Harvard University (Sanskrit and Indian Studies), Indiana University, McGill University and the McMaster University in Canada are some of these institutions.

Also on the list are the Ohio State University, Rutgers University, University of California at Berkeley, University of Alabama (through its Critical Languages Center), University of British Columbia and University of Calgary in Canada, and University of Chicago.

There are 18 other such universities in the US.

"Sanskrit is being taught as an Indo-European language in dozens of universities in the US. Hindi and Sanskrit are the most popular South Asian languages, and some places also teach Urdu, Tamil and Bengali," said Jain.

Jain teaches the First Year Sanskrit (Spring, Fall 2007) course at the university on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Institutions in India offering Sanskrit that made it to the list include the Academy of Sanskrit Research located at Melkote in the Mandya district of Karnataka.

Other institutions offering Sanskrit courses in India include the French Institute, Pondicherry; the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, Delhi; the Institute of Asian Studies, Chennai; and the Department of Sanskrit and Prakrit Languages of Pune University.