Who says Sanskrit is a dead language ? The Karnataka Samskrit University started in 2010 in Bangalore with 4000 students went from 18,000 enrolled in 2011-12 to a whopping 42,000 this year. Enthusiasts include engineering students, home makers, lawyers, accountants and senior citizens. It offers BA in Sanskrit through evening college. Full attendance in Sanskrit class Along with probability theory, calculus and other subjects of mechanical engineering, Shashikiran BN, an 18-year-old student at BMS College of Engineering, takes Sanskrit lessons too. This teenager is set to get started with a BA in Sanskrit at the evening classes offered by Karnataka Samskrit University. When classes at the Karnataka Samskrit University Evening College, Chamarajpet, begin on September 1, there will be lawyers, engineers, homemakers, accountants and senior citizens answering the roll call. The list of candidates who have enrolled for a BA degree in Sanskrit at the college is like a pot-pourri of sorts. "Sanskrit is a beautiful language and I consider it my responsibility to learn the language and pass it on. After this, I will continue with higher studies in the language. If you have passion and love for something, you find time no matter how busy you are," says Shashikiran. Homemaker Varalakshmi JH, 33, wants to help her children with the language. "My husband loves the subject and likes reading shlokas. Thanks to him, I developed an inclination too. Now we want our children to follow suit. I decided to learn the nuances myself to help them with their doubts. Besides, learning a language is always beneficial," she says. Lawyer Ravikumar DR, 65, says his interest in the language got him here. "Sanskrit is the mother of all languages. Moreover, it teaches you values and ethics and brings positivity in life," he adds. Krishna Shrinivas, 68, is the senior-most student around and he is attending classes to understand the true meaning of moksha. "I am looking for knowledge. I haven't joined the course for a certificate but for happiness. I read books on philosophy and knowledge of Sanskrit is important to understand them," says Krishna, who has taken up the subject after a gap of over 50 years. "The last time I studied it was in 1962 when I was in Class XI," he recalls. "Today, spirituality has become the new dimension for ultimate happiness. People are joining the course to add moral and ethical values to their lives. They feel the subject will inculcate qualities needed for a good personality," says YS Siddegowda, registrar, Karnataka Samskrit University. The course The BA in Sanskrit course is preceded by a month-long bridge course to create a level field. Students study Kannada, English and Sanskrit as compulsory languages in the first two years, and Sanskrit as the core subject all the three years. The syllabus has excerpts from original texts of Sanskrit prose, poetry, grammar, literary history, Indian logic, philosophy, dramaturgy and yoga. The annual fee is Rs 4,000 per annum, including examination fee. Growth story The varsity that started with only 4,000 students in 2010 has come a long way. While the number of students increased to 18,000 in academic year 2011-12, as many as 42,000 students have enrolled this year. "The steep increase is due to the proactive steps taken by the varsity. We aligned ourselves with the state government to provide an exclusive space for students learning Sanskrit in schools. There are 486 such schools. Apart from that, we send our teachers to institutions on demand,'' said Siddegowda. Lingua Franca Clad in white, goldenbordered lungis, students and professors at the varsity converse in Sanskrit. ''Communicating in Sanskrit is not compulsory but voluntary. We are trying to create an atmosphere where people show inclination to learn the language and also propagate its goodness,'' says KS Kannan, principal, Samskrit Evening College.