Because of a perception that the International Congress of Orientalists (as the International Congress for Asian and North African Studies was then called) did not allow sufficient scope for full discussion of Sanskrit and allied subjects, several Indian scholars (from the Universities of Madras, Poona and elsewhere) approached the Ministry of Education and Social Welfare of the Government of India, which as a result convened the first International Sanskrit Conference/Viswa Sanskrit samelana at New Delhi in March 1972. At the 29th International Congress of Orientalists, held in Paris the following year, Sanskritists from various countries met and agreed to form the I.A.S.S., drafting a constitution and electing its first Executive Committee. The main task of the I.A.S.S was agreed to be the organizing of World Sanskrit Conference at different venues (with the New Delhi conference being recognised retrospectively as the First World Sanskrit Conference). These have been successful in creating cooperation in a number of common causes, both in defense of the discipline and in encouraging important fields of research, while numbers of participants has increased steadily over the years (with particularly large attendances at the conferences held in India - Varanasi in 1981 and Banglore in 1997).


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