SANSKRIT LANGUAGE is the gateway to the world of Indian civilisation. Franklin Edgerton was convinced some knowledge of Sanskrit language is essential to understand and appreciate Indian civilisation and its great works of arts, of letters and thought. The adage truth is stranger than fiction is quite appropriate in the case of presenting a truthful portrait of Indian civilisation.

We do not have objective studies directed to give balanced and holistic picture of Indian civilisation, covering all aspects of its manifestation and development, and its distinctive mode of thought and reflection.

There is a historical background which may partly explain this sad situation. We noted it with reference to the modern age. Some like Max Mueller spiritualised and admired India. Others like Hegel poured contempt on Indian philosophy, religion, literature, arts, social organisation, economy and Both these interpretations presented distorted and twisted pictures of Indian civilisation, and hence these accounts are false. We need and objective account of Indian civilisation.

Knowledge of Sanskrit language will enable us to draw fair and truthful picture of our tradition, which will help us to appreciate our strength and weakness. It is this wholesome awareness of our tradition, which will generate self-confidence in the nation. It will be the corner-stone of national development. The linguistic heterogeneity of India is a baffling problem. We have a large number of languages, which are at varied levels of development.

Furthermore, each language has regional dialects. As a consequence, we do not have standard terminology even in each of the relatively well-developed Indian languages. For example, we do not have standard terminology to identify plants. We need standard terminology for clear demarcation of meaning of concepts and ideas, and for promotion of scientific and technical progress.

Sanskrit language is essential to develop lexicons of standard terms in Indian languages, and lexicons constructed on the basis of Sanskrit language are likely to have a large number of words, which will be common to the Indian languages. Such and exercise will foster national unity and development. It will also help to mitigate the problem of linguistic heterogeneity of Indian to some extent. It will be useful to produce historical dictionaries of Indian languages, religions, arts and crafts.

Sanskrit language will prove to be a valuable asset to institutes of higher learning and research studies. First, it will provide access to a vast body of knowledge in several disciplines. The writings in the fields of technical knowledge in Sanskrit language deserve special attention, as they hold promise to contribute for the advancement of knowledge in some frontier areas of scientific research. Secondly, it is necessary to generate and define concepts in Humanities and Social Science based on Indian reality and experience, to explain and solve our problems. Arnold Toynbee pointed out that Indian civilisation is unique among the civilisations of mankind, and distinct from the western civilisation. Some of its salient features _ like a model of life based on blend of the emotional, intellectual, material and spiritual aspects, social pluralism, visionary mode of comprehension, non-dualistic metaphysics and epistemology, theory of unified field knowledge, bond of affinity with nature and all living organisms, an unusual capacity for assimilation of new ideas, dispersed local identities capped by cultural homogeneity, deep interest in the control of thoughts and sense organs, belief in one which is the sole reality, - are well-known. There is need to document and explain these features carefully. Systematic exploration of Indian tradition is necessary to give full-fledged and holistic account of it. Sanskrit language is a significant tool to carry out this task.

These features of Indian culture are valuable to mankind. More than any other civilisation in the world, Indian civilisation in the world, Indian civilisation explores the knowledge of mental things, and cultivation of the use of faculties of mind. The world will have to study not Greek, but Sanskrit as the language of knowledge, knowledge absolute. This is the relevance of Sanskrit language to India and mankind. Let us hope that the Government of India will formulate an appropriate agenda during the year of Sanskrit language.