The Department offers B.A (Sanskrit), M.A (Sanskrit) courses and research programmes leading to Ph.D. in Sanskrit.
The Department of Sanskrit of Ramakrishna Mission Vivekananda College is the only Department of its kind in the whole of Tamil Nadu offering Sanskrit at four different levels, that is, (i) as a Language under Part I for B.A., B.Sc., and B.Com. students (ii) as an Under Graduate degree course (iii) as a Post Graduate degree course and (iv) at Research level – Ph.D.
Growth of the Department
Swami Vivekananda, in his speeches and writings, emphasised the need for a proper study of Sanskrit, in which are enshrined our highest treasures of literature, religion, and Philosophy. The management introduced Sanskrit as a language course initially and it was part of Indian Languages Department in 1946. Prof. R.S.Venkataramasastri was the first Professor of Sanskrit in the College. The Sanskrit Association was inaugurated by Sri C.Rajagopalachariyar on 4th September 1952. The management decided to upgrade the Department by introducing the Honours course in Sanskrit in 1954. Dr. A.Sankaran was invited to head the Department in 1955. The M.A. course in Sanskrit was introduced in the year 1958. Prof. V.S.Venkataraghavchariar became the Head of the Department. Prof. V. Rajagopalan took over from him in the year 1963. In order to help the students who had no prior knowledge of Sanskrit in Pre-University course, a bridge course was started. Consequently, the strength which was just 23 in the Pre-University course in 1968 jumped to 79 in 1969. We had two sections in 1970 and added one more section subsequently in the Pre-University course. The B.A. major course in Sanskrit was started in the year 1969. Sanskrit was also offered as an Ancillary subject for B.A. Philosophy students for a few years. But the Department had just 5 staff members (four regular staff members and one guest lecturer) who managed all the classes, though with difficulty. Realising the heavy workload of the Department, the Government sanctioned one hand in 1978 and three more hands in 1980. The staff strength rose from five to eight, and then to nine in the year 1999. In 1974, the Department was upgraded as research department with Dr. M.Narasimhachary as its first research supervisor. The Department also got affiliation for M.Phil. in 1980. Initially, the Department was started with two pundits. Later 2 tutors were added. With the introduction of Honours course a Professor was appointed in 1954. Later additional Professor and PG Professor posts were introduced. Sri N.C. Krishnan, a leading chartered accountant in Chennai and a lover of Sanskrit language helped to establish a chair in this College with a view to utilise the services of retired professors. This scheme was in vogue till 1984. The Department got the benefit of having a UGC Professor for three years from 1971 to 1974. At present we have 9 lecturers in the Department all of whom are Ph.D. degree holders and 8 of them are alumni of the Department. The details of the present staff are given in the criterion-wise input.
A Lecture Endowment has been created in the name of Prof. P.S.Subrahmanya Sastri to invite scholars to dwell upon the works and contribution of Sri Sastrigal a great Scholar in Tamil and Sanskrit and a prolific translator. There are two other endowments in the name of Dr.S.Viswanathan former Professor and Head and Sri P T Pidleum an alumnus and Vice-Chancellor, Buddhist University Thailand for Students Seminar and Language learning exercises.
Generally Sanskrit students take to teaching as their avocation. Jnanavikasa Kendra, run by Ladmall Bhandari Memorial Trust with Sri Prakashmall Bhandari as its Trustee came forward to prepare PG and research students for future jobs. They arranged for Sanskrit classes to be conducted in schools immediately after school hours from 3.30 p.m. on working days and our PG & Research students were co-opted to prepare the school children for Samskrita Bhasha Prachaimi Sabha, Chittoor (Andhra Pradesh) exams and our students too were given a small honorarium. This scheme gave some teaching exposure and experience to our research students. Many Institutions that had a vacancy for a Sanskrit teacher contacted the Department and our students passing out with M.A. degree were appointed immediately in these Institutions.
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