Even as the Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh is trying to promote Sanskrit in a big way by issuing press statements in this language, the number of students who wish to study it is falling alarmingly.
More than 40 per cent seats for Sanskrit and Hindi at graduation level in the Lucknow University have been left vacant.
"Students are unwilling to opt for Sanskrit, Hindi and other subjects like Urdu, Arab Culture, French, astrology and Arabic because these subjects do not guarantee a job. Sanskrit, in particular, has seen a dwindling presence of students in the classes," said a faculty member in the Lucknow University.
He said that if the trend continued, the day is not far when the university will have to do away with subjects like Sanskrit.
Meanwhile, the Uttar Pradesh government's decision to issue press statements in Sanskrit has been met with considerable scepticism.
"There are about 25 Sanskrit publications in the state of which only two are dailies. These are ‘Navprabhatam' from Kanpur and ‘Digvarta' from Etawah. The rest are weeklies, fortnightlies and bi-annuals. The Sanskrit press release, therefore, has no use," said an official in the state information department who added that they had problems in getting someone to make Sanskrit press releases.
A senior IAS officer echoed similar sentiments and said that if the state government genuinely wanted to promote Sanskrit as a language, it should address problems being faced by Sanskrit schools in the state.
As per the state education department, as many as 1,148 posts of principals and assistant teachers are lying vacant in 921 schools teaching Sanskrit that is referred to as the 'language of gods'.
These schools called ‘Sanskrit pathshalas', are lacking 257 principals and 891 assistant teachers.
Details of district-wise existing vacancies reveal that maximum vacancies are in Varanasi, where 135 posts are lying vacant.
"Since there is a shortage of faculty members, more and more students are giving up on Sanskrit. The Chief Minister should focus on the education of the language before he begins popularizing it," said an official.