The Department of Sanskrit and Prakrit Languages is one of the oldest departments of the Lucknow University and it is known for its glorious past. The department has been working since 17th July 1921 and Dr. K. A. Subramania Iyer was the first Head of the department. He was a well-known Sanskrit scholar and also an able administrator. Under his leadership, the department did a great progress. He had introduced numerous courses related to Vedic literature and classical Sanskrit literature, the courses in Prakrit, Pali and Tibetan languages. On several occasions, Sanskrit dramas were staged during his tenure. The sixteenth All India Oriental Conference was also hosted during his period. His work on Vakyapadiya of Bhartrihari had brought the glory to the department for which department’s name figures among the Indology world. He handed over the baton to his successor Dr. K.C. Pandey, who proved himself as a worthy descendent and continued the glorious tradition founded by Dr. K. A. Subramania Iyer. Dr. K.C. Pandey, the second Head of the department, was a recipient of President Certificate of Honour, posthumously. He was a prodigiously talented scholar of Kashmir Shaivism and Aesthetics. He had introduced both Kashmir Shaivism and Aesthetics subjects in the postgraduate curriculum. He has also founded an Institute called Abhinavagupta Institute of Aesthetics & Shaiva Philosophy for Higher Studies in this field. His scholarship was impressive and universally acknowledged. His successor and the third Head of the department, Dr. Satyavrata Singh was a scholar of great erudition and had considerable expertise on Vishishtadvaita Vedanta. Since he has very pronounced views on the same subject, a course was introduced on the same in the Master degree level. His successors Dr. Jagadamba Prasad Sinha followed by Dr. Navjivan Rastogi, Dr. Ashoka Kumar Kalia have tried to spread the glory of this department both individually and institutionally. Dr. Om Prakash Pandey, the winner of Sahitya Academy award and an erudite Vedic scholar, had brought high reputation to this department. The seminars, lecture series and workshops have been organized by the department regularly in order to give the fresh impetus to the students on the subject. To promote the research activity in the department, a research journal has also been published.
There was an oriental studies section in this department where the traditional Sanskrit was taught. Later it was separated from the Department and became independent. Many great Sanskrit scholars such as Pt. Ghooter Jha, Acharya Girish Chandra Avasthi, Pt. Ananda Jha, Acharya Ramnarayan Tripathi and others contributed in the development and growth of this Department.