The study of Sanskrit has but recently risen in the estimation of the educated natives of this presidency and of our educational authorities. The old Sanskrit college of Poona owed its existence and continuance rather to a spirit of conciliation and toleration in our rulers than to their conviction of the utility of Sanskrit as a branch of general education. The modern critical and progressive spirit was not brought to bear upon it. The old Sastris were allowed to carry all things in their own way. After about thirty years since its establishment the authorities began to exercise active interference until at length the college was abolished and a new system inaugurated, which to be complete and effective, enquires, in my humble opinion, a partial restoration of the old institution.
This newly awakened and more enlightened zeal in favour of Sanskrit cannot last, or produce extensive results, unless books are prepared to facilitate the general study of that language. I have heard students complain that they find Sanskrit more difficult than Latin, and many have actually left the study of their own classical tongue for that of its foreign rival. I do not know if this complain has a foundation in the structure of the two languages; but this, at least, I am sure of that Sanskrit would be considerably more easy than it is, if there were men educated in our English Colleges to teach it, and if books specially adapted for beginners were available. It was with the view of supplying in some measure, this latter desideratum that this little book was prepared about a year and a half ago.
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