New Delhi: To generate interest in ancient and Vedic texts, the Narendra Modi government is planning to fund research in traditional Indian knowledge and identify their applicability to modern knowledge systems.
The Union Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD) has been working on a proposal to start a scheme that will provide funds for researchers across the country. The texts for research would be along the lines of the Charaka Samhita, a Sanskrit text on Ayurveda, and the Arthashastra, which is an ancient Indian treatise on statecraft, economic policy and military strategy, written in Sanskrit. Apart from these, Vedic literature will also be a part of this scheme.
“The idea is to identify scientific concepts that are enshrined in ancient Indian texts and then explore their connection with modern knowledge through evidence-based research,” said a senior HRD official.
Another official said this scheme will be applicable to all research institutes. The University Grants Commission (UGC) has already been tasked with working out the modalities for the initiative. “The Banaras Hindu University (BHU) is likely to run and manage the scheme but a final call will be taken soon,” added the official.
‘Scientific validation for ancient knowledge’
The new scheme will cover both humanities and the sciences. Researchers at all higher education institutes, including the IITs, NITs, central universities and others, will be eligible to avail the benefits offered under the scheme.
The move will help provide scientific validation for ancient knowledge and wisdom which is available in Indian texts, said a senior official. “This scheme will allow researchers to explore the connection between knowledge concepts enshrined in ancient Indian texts and their connection with modern scientific knowledge on the basis of empirical evidence which will help reduce the tussle between traditional and modern knowledge.”
This move will be one in a series of efforts that the government is making to encourage research in ancient texts.
The latest scheme will work along the lines of the Impacting Research Innovation and Technology (IMPRINT) initiative under which a study is carried out across 10 domains, including in healthcare, information and communication technology, energy, sustainable habitat, water resource and river system, advanced materials, manufacturing, security and defence, among others.
A number of IITs in the past have individually introduced Sanskrit, the language of the scriptures, in their curricula. IIT-Kharagpur, for instance, had started a course on the History of Science and Technology in Ancient India.