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Mark of Sanskrit

B.V.S. BHASKAR

A talk focussed on the importance and relevance of Sanskrit.

Photo: S. Rambabu

Celebrate sanksrit Viswanatha Gopalakrishna and Sanskrit scholar Dorbhala Prabhakara Sarma.

A majority of Indians may think that Sanskrit, also known as Devabhasha (language of the Gods), is a dying language, but it thrives in a few pockets. Oriental languages, especially Sanskrit, were neglected by our rulers after Independence but in the West, Sanskrit is accorded equal importance along with their native languages. Not surprisingly, World Sanskrit Day which falls on August 5 is celebrated in India in a few places, but on a larger scale in the West.

Rajahmundry is celebrating Sanskrit Saptaham from August 3 to 9. Sanskrit is the spoken language in Adi Sankaracharya’s native village Kaladi in Kerala and Mattur, a village close to Shimoga in Karnataka. Jhiri, the remote hamlet in Madhya Pradesh and Ganoda in Banswada district of Rajasthan are a few places in the country where everybody, whether he is a vegetable vendor, milkman or a grocer, speaks flawless Sanskrit. Even the Muslims of Mattur converse in Sanskrit. Similarly, in many villages Sanskrit is spoken in good numbers. In Andhra Pradesh too there are a few villages where Muslims speak Sanskrit.

“Sanskrit is not limited to a certain section of society. We are not asking everyone to speak in Sanskrit but appealing them to be knowledgeable about the language,” says President’s Award winner and Sanskrit Pandit Sri Viswanatha Gopalakrishna. He retired as Principal of Rajahmundry Oriental College and organises Sanskrit Saptaham along with Dorbhala Prabhakara Sarma.

Gopalakrishna referred to the influence of Sir William Jones on Sanskrit studies and quoted him extensively before moving ahead to present times. He recalled how Sir William Jones said, “The Sanskrit language, whatever be its antiquity, is of a wonderful structure; more perfect than the Greek, more copious than the Latin, and more exquisitely refined than either, yet bearing to both of them a stronger affinity, both in the roots of verbs and in the forms of grammar, than could possibly have been produced by accident; so strong, indeed, that no philologer could examine them all three, without believing them to have sprung from some common source, which, perhaps, no longer exists.”

In recent times, the popularity of Sanskrit has increased in the North and some parts of the South, except in Andhra Pradesh. Commenting on this, Gopalakrishna said that people should think of learning Sanskrit for reasons beyond employment.

“The language will teach us about our rich culture and heritage. It may not be possible to learn Sanskrit in detail but one should know how it can be made useful in day-to-day conversations,” he added.

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