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Thursday, April 15, 2021

World Sanskrit Day: 9 lesser known facts about Sanskrit

Declared as a classical language now, Sanskrit is known to be highly scientific in its structure and is a language that is in high demand all over the world.

By: Lifestyle Desk | New Delhi |
August 25, 2018 7:31:15 pm
Sanskrit, world sanskrit day, facts, trivia, fortran, science, math, indian express, indian express news. Sudharma is the only Sanskrit newspaper in the world. (Source: File Photo)

Sanskrit, an old Indo-Aryan language, with a documented history of nearly 3,500 years, is said to be the primary liturgical language of the Hindu culture. Declared as a classical language now, it is known to be highly scientific in its structure and is a language that is in high demand all over the world.

Sadly, in India, less than a percentage of its population speak Sanskrit. Today alive among the masses through songs and a few common phrases, on World Sanskrit Day, we hope this forgotten language gets the respect it deserves and is preserved before it is too late. Here are some facts related to Sanskrit.

If you speak Sanskrit, you can express yourself in fewer words

Sanskrit has a highly organised grammatical structure. Even phonetically, the vowels and consonants have been arranged in a very scientific pattern. It adds to the preciseness of the language. It is believed that what one can express in Sanskrit in one word, an English speaker would generally need four to six or even more words to express the same idea.

A lot of English words find its origin in the Sanskrit language

In the English language, there are a lot of words whose origin can be traced back to Sanskrit, like, mosquito from mashaka, bangle from bangri, sugar from sakara, camphor from karpura, cash from karsha, and many more. Sir William Jones, the English Philologist, for the first time in 1786, suggested in his book “The Sanscrit Language” that Greek and Latin were related to Sanskrit and perhaps even Gothic, Celtic and Persian languages were related to Sanskrit.

Be it Greek Latin English Hindi Lithuanian, it is believed by most scholars that Sanskrit is the mother of all languages. Even scholars like Voltaire and Immanuel Kant believed that Sanskrit was the root of all Indo-European languages.

In a village in Karnataka, everyone speaks in Sanskrit

Mattur, a village in Shimoga district of Karnataka is known for its preservation of the language. From shopkeepers to children and street vendors, everyone in the village speaks in the ancient classical language of Sanskrit. This village is also said to have atleast one IT professional in almost every house. Known for producing great educational results and having a low track record of crime, it also offers to teach Sanskrit to anyone who is interested.

Sanskrit was declared as the official state language of Uttarakhand

The people of this state have welcomed the decision of Sanskrit being an official language. With an aim to encourage Vedic techniques of learning, it strives to promote the ancient language so that the children could understand it and translate or co-relate traditional and Vedic wisdom with current day science, economics and polity. The Government of the state believes Sanskrit could help in all-round welfare of the people.

Sudharma is the only Sanskrit newspaper in the world

For a language that draws its origin to India, Sudharma is the only Sanskrit daily newspaper in the world. The newspaper has been published since 1970 from Mysore in Karnataka, India and is also available online. For its offline readers, the paper is circulated mainly through posts. Kalale Nadadur Varadaraja Iyengar, a Sanskrit scholar, launched the paper back in 1970 with an aim to promote the language. He had published Sanskrit books. His idea to publish a newspaper in Sanskrit was initially met with discouragement.

Sanskrit has inspired music across various genre like Hindustani and Carnatic classical, and even pop numbers

It is well known that Sanskrit is used extensively in the Carnatic and Hindustani branches of classical music. In what dates back to the Sama Veda, it used musical notations in Sanskrit. Kirtanas, bhajans, strotas and shlokas in Sanskrit are popular throughout India. In China, an award winning Chinese pop singer, Sa Dingding, is famous and popular throughout for writing her C-pop songs in Sanskrit.

Sanskrit language has the largest vocabulary

102 arab 78 crore 50 lakh words have been used till now in Sanskrit. There are over a hundred synonyms for the word elephant and while English has only one word for love, Sanskrit has a whopping ninety six! Sanskrit is a treasure trove of synonyms. With over 70 words for water and over 122 words to describe ‘to go’, all of it precisely and specifically, it clearly rules the world of words.

Sanskrit is the most computer friendly language

NASA scientist Rick Briggs once said that Sanskrit is the only unambiguous language in existence. America has a University dedicated to Sanskrit and the NASA too has a department in it to research on Sanskrit manuscripts. Computer languages like FORTRAN draw from this language. With many people pointing out towards the structured science of the language, it is not very surprising that it is computer friendly. Many studies have even claimed that owing to this structure, learning Sanskrit develops one’s logic and analytical skills.

It is believed that the USA is creating the 6th and 7th generation Super Computers based on the Sanskrit language. The Project deadlines are 2025 and 2034 for 6th and 7th generation computers respectively.

Germany is finding it hard to meet the demand of people wanting to learn Sanskrit

Fourteen universities in Germany offer Sanskrit as a subject. For a language that has been proven to help in speech therapy, in improving concentration and also in learning mathematics and science better, the demand for learning this language is on the rise. Seventeen countries around the world have atleast one University to study Sanskrit so that they gain a technological upperhand over others. James Junior School, London, has made Sanskrit compulsory. Students of this school top every year. Some schools in Ireland employ it too.

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