Whence cometh language? As we know, its since we started to communicate as humans. That’s how long it has evolved, or to say the least, been. So what’s the oldest language? We have no idea, but it isn’t your language, either. However, several languages from the ancient days of civilization might be the cradle of modern languages. This ancient text, perhaps language, has been the basis of several cultures and religions. Dear friends, do you know how to read or write Sanskrit?
Related media: The Language Of The Gods – Facts About The Sanskrit Language
Whence Cometh Sanskrit?
Sanskrit, saṃskṛt, which translates as “adorned,” “cultivated,” or “purified,” is a classical language of South Asia. It belongs to the Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European languages which rose after its preceding languages merged with others during the Bronze Age. Its the sacred language of Hinduism, the language of classical Hindu philosophy, and of historical texts of Buddhism and Jainism.
The Sanskrit language dates back to the second millennium to 600 Before the Common Era (B.C.E). Its one of the officially endorsed languages of India’s 128 official languages. Classical Sanskrit was elegantly described in one of the finest grammars ever produced. The Aṣṭādhyāyī (Eight Chapters) was composed by the ancient scholar Pāṇini around the 6th to 5th century B.C.E. It was also used in the documentation of the Vedas — a prehistoric document also known as Vedic Sanskrit.
Although most Vedic documents represented most of the dialects of the northern midlands of the Indian subcontinent and area to the east thereof. The very earliest texts — including the Rigveda (Veda composed in verses) — were generally ascribe by scholars around 1,500 B.C.E. These were found in the northwestern part of the subcontinent — the areas of the ancient seven rivers.
Sanskrit In India Today
India is often seen as bias of its own culture than that of the West. Speak of India and their English accent, and you know what we mean. No offense India. Sanskrit is used in Indian schools, as young as eighth graders are taught Vedic Mathematics — an ancient Sanskrit arithmetics that was mainly used by scholars. This is usually practiced during Sanskrit week, an annual event held across the country to honor this ancient and sacred language.
“It’s our mother language, the root of all languages,” said Usha Ram, a Indian school principal in an interview with the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) News. “All over the world people try to preserve their traditions. Why not in India?”
The government of India has encouraged schools to actively take part in the reading, writing, and speaking of the language during Sanskrit week. However, Sanskrit is only offered as an optional language. Most students prefer to study with more relevant languages like French, German, and even Mandarin, and not excluding English. These are seen as more globalized languages.
Unfortunately, it’s not taught as much as these “so-called” globalized language, except in Sanskrit week alone. Many children choose to learn other languages — Muslims choose to learn Arabic, Christians prefer English. There’s been several efforts by the government to revive the ancient language, and has been a major project. However, Sanskrit is closely linked with the religions in India, and is primarily used by religious scholars.
“I studied Sanskrit in high school. But place a text in front of me and it is barely comprehensible,” writes Sanjoy Majumder, a BBC international correspondent based in New Delhi, in an article for the BBC News.
Is Sanskrit Out Of Date And Use?
According to an Indian census, roughly 14,000 people in India described Sanskrit as their primary language, with almost no speakers in northeast India — mainly Orissa, Jammu and Kashmir, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and even Gujarat. It is now spoken by less than one percent of Indians, and is mostly used by Hindu priest during religious ceremonies. In fact, Sanskrit is one of the official languages of the state of Uttarakhand in northern India.
Counterintuitively, the use of Sanskrit is only stirring up controversy in a country where language and politics are sensitive issues. Politicians in the southern state of Tamil Nadu tend to oppose the language. The Tamil language is not derived from Sanskrit, and its seen by locals as a threat by Hindu nationalists on their culture and religion as linguistic minorities.
Let us know if you can speak, read and write in Sanskrit.
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Written by: Nana Kwadwo, Sun, Mar 21, 2021.