Under the ‘scheme of financial assistance for safeguard and support master pieces of intangible heritage of humanity,’ UNESCO has given Rs 5 crore to Union Ministry of Cultural Affairs as assistance to preserve the traditions of vedic chanting, kudiattam and Ramleela. Accordingly, the ministry invited proposals from institutes involved in the preservation of these traditions. Around 40 vedpathshalas all over India had submitted their proposals out of which 15 were from Maharashtra. The Ministry has set aside Rs 75 lakh to these institution.
“It has come as a boost to the research in Vedas. It will also help institutes get more students to learn Vedic chants,” said Vasantrao Gadgil, director of Sharada Dnyanpeetham. In Pune, currently there are around 100 students studying Vedas in different vedpathshalas. Besides, there are institutes involved in research. One such institute is Vedic Sanshodhan Mandal. Bhagyalata Pataskar, secretary of the institute, pursued with the cultural affairs ministry to get the money for Vedic studies.
“Each institute had presented different projects based on which they were selected for the funds. There are students in the age group of 10 to 24 who want to learn Vedas, but because of limited resources cannot pursue it. “These students have to undergo six to seven hours of training everyday. As the courses are of 10 to 12 years duration, the institutes also have to take care of the students’ living and food,” Pataskar said.
“We are running our institutes with the donations we receive from generous people in the society who know the importance of preserving this tradition,” said Moreshwar Ghaisas of Vedbhavan. He welcomed the efforts of UNESCO but criticised the government for neglecting this tradition. “UNESCO has given this fund for one year which is not recurring. But our government should take some steps to continue funding Vedpathshalas," he said.