Sanskrit revives in govt offices:
a DECCAN HERALD report
Among the many efforts to revive Sanskrit in the country comes this novel initiative in the northern hill state of Uttarakhand.
Gautam Dheer in Chandigarh (DHNS)
A walk in the corridors of power in the state, carved out of Uttar Pradesh, gives you a glimpse of something one can’t ignore looking at. All name plates outside the offices of the chief minister, his council of ministers, legislators and even bureaucrats are in Sanskrit. The legislative assembly in Uttarakhand too is witnessing a similar change.
That’s not all. Several signboards on prominent state and national highways are
being redone with Sanskrit on top. All this and more initiatives by the state government to revive Sanskrit for a larger country audience transpired into tangible results after the state of Uttarakhand declared Sanskrit its second official language, the first in the country.
Efforts to revive this dying language is now stretching its roots way inside rural hill towns. Talking to Deccan Herald, Dr Mahaveer Aggarwal, Vice-Chairman of the Uttarakhand Sanskrit Academy, said “two sleepy villages in the state have
recently been declared ‘Sanskrit grams’ after a survey. Here, census data had revealed a high use of Sanskrit. We have posted our teams in these villages. There are many shopkeepers, farmers in this area who still speak and communicate in Sanskrit.”
Sanskrit experts posted in these areas are holding camps, stage shows and distributing literature to further promote the language. The government intends to turn these villages into model Sanskrit grams as things start to shape up. The inspiration, perhaps, comes from a small village named Mattur in Shimoga district in Karnataka where people use Sanskrit in day-to-day communication. Mattur’s twin village, Hosahalli, shares almost similar qualities.
Uttarakhand Ramesh Chief Minister Pokhriyal Nishank said the idea is to educate people in traditional Sanskrit language to a level that communication is possible. A three-week long Sanskrit Yatra, akin to a road show, touched seven cities. The Chief Minister said:
“We are committed in our efforts. We would like people to know our passion for Sanskrit being showcased all around. Since it is the second language, name plates and signage boards are being turned into Sanskrit,” he added.
The two twin holy townships of Haridwar and Rishikesh in the state, which are a part of the religious circuit attracting several lakhs of tourists from across the globe every year, have been declared ‘Sanskrit cities’. Here Sanskrit camps are held regularly by experts to create a liking for the language. Aggarwal said unless large sections of the society are made literate in Sanskrit, its usage will be a long-drawn and slow process.
As per census data, the persons with their native language as Sanskrit fell from close to 50,000 people in 1991 to 14,000 in 2010. The Central Board of Secondary Education in India has made Sanskrit a third language, although it is an option for the school to adopt it. Aggarwal said various song, dance and drama contests are being held to promote use of Sanskrit. On August 27, an information and entertainment CD on Sanskrit rhymes, vedic songs, stories et al will be released by former Union Minister Murli Manohar Joshi in a bid to firm-up efforts to revive Sanskrit, he said.