Meet the scholar from Bengaluru who is on a mission to revive Sanskrit among children using technology and fun
Dr Pradnya Anjal through her online platform Vedika is helping children learn Sanskrit the fun way.
Sanskrit is one of the oldest surviving languages in the world. It is a treasure trove of our ancient knowledge in music, dance, sculpture, yoga, medicine, chemistry, metallurgy, mathematics, astronomy, and many other subjects in the fields of arts and science. With time there have been very few who have succeeded in understanding the beauty and wisdom of Sanskrit. For rest, it has remained an unsolved mystery.
While most schools have Sanskrit as one of the languages as part of the curriculum, many students find it difficult to learn and try to pass the exam and bid adieu to the language forever. Little did they realise that the language has tremendous simplicity hidden behind its sophistication. With an aim to propagate and preserve Indian languages, culture, and art, Bengaluru-based Sanskrit scholar and instructional designer Dr Pradnya started Vediak.
"The main reason why many students find Sanskrit difficult is due to the structure of the curriculum and the way Sanskrit is taught in schools these days, where much stress is laid on grammar than the usage of the language. This discourages students to recognise the wisdom Sanskrit holds," explains Pradnya, Founder of Vedika.
Started in 2017, Vedika is an online platform for Indian languages, art, and culture. While Pradnya was studying at Jnana Prabodhini in Solapur, Maharashtra, Sanskrit caught her fancy at a very early age and she owes it to her teacher.
An inspiring teacher changes lives
“I still remember the Sanskrit song my teacher taught me in school. With a simple but catchy tune, she made it into a fun song with hand actions than just reading it out loud," says Pradnya.
Her love for Sanskrit multiplied with time and she earned a gold medal in Sanskrit in Masters and followed by a doctorate degree from Bangalore University. She always wanted to do something about the way Sanskrit is taught in schools. She wanted to break the monotony; it became her vision and mission for life.
Pradnya went ahead and trained herself to become an Instructional Designer and worked for some of the leading MNC's like Bosch and Wipro. A brief career in teaching Sanskrit and a freelance project with HCL creating e-learning content gave 40-year-old Pradnya the required skills. The next big question was how to put the plan into action?
A Kannada rhyme that changed it all
One day, her daughter was humming a Kannada rhyme, Marathi being her mother tongue. The ease with which her daughter was learning Kannada through rhymes amused her. This became her eureka moment and she decided that rhymes can be a wonderful way to teach and bring people close to Sanskrit. She quit her job and starting working on Sanskrit rhymes. She has written 15 rhymes so far and her first Sanskrit rhyme with amusing animation has nearly 36,000 views on YouTube.
Future plans, something for everyone
Pradnya wants to build Vedika by developing excellent, original e-content. The purpose of Vedika is to preserve and propagate Indian languages, arts, and culture and enable them to contribute towards the enrichment of world culture.
The content she wants to offer includes (but is not confined to) animated songs, animated stories, comic strips, pictorial biographies, e-learning modules, games, activities, infographics, and video lectures with practice sessions.
Pradnya is crowdfunding her initiative to support her vision. Her aim is to reach every person who believes that Indian culture has an important role to play in fulfilling the dream of वसुधैव कुटुंबकम् l (entire world is one family).