Sanskrit, as we all know, is the mother of all the languages human race knows. It can be referred to as the very first means of communication used by our ancestors to convey their message through a spoken language. But is the language now given respect what it truly deserves? Most of us have now mostly eliminated Sanskrit from our lives. We may be hearing them in our day to day enchantment of prayers or some other time by a priest during a ‘havan’ or a ‘pooja’, and in that too most of us are unknown to what those enchantments mean. Is this how we pay respect to the mother of all languages?
For us, Sanskrit is merely a third language in school or an age old language which has its limitations to the Hindu scriptures. But that is not so, as proved by Mattur, Hosahalli and Jhiri. These are the villages where the people have kept Sanskrit alive. They communicate with each other in Sanskrit whether it be a child, a shopkeeper, a priest, a mason or anyone in the village. Everyone in the village communicates in Sanskrit.
Mattur, a village along the river Tunga, 8km south of the city Shivamogga in Karnataka is a habitat to approximately 2000 people. Sanskrit is the spoken language of most of the people here. Not just merely as for greeting, but the language is also used while talking on phones, at a grocer’s shop, ploughing fields, getting a haircut etc. Everyone ,if not speak, can understand the language easily irrespective of their age, gender, caste, religion or any such basis which we use to divide the society.
Until the early 1980s, villagers in Mattur spoke the state’s regional language, Kannada, as well as Tamil because of the large number of labourers who settled here centuries ago from the neighbouring state of Tamil Nadu. Then there was a movement in favour of Sanskrit. Sanskrit had been criticised as the language of the upper caste and suddenly displaced from the pedestal with Kannada. The priest of Pejawar Mutt(the local religious centre) gave a call to make Mattur a Sanskrit-speaking village. It took just two hours daily for 10 days for the entire village to start conversing in Sanskrit. Since then, Sanskrit is being spoken not just by the upper caste of the village, but also by communities from the socially and economically underprivileged sections of society.
The study of the language begins from the Montessori level where the children are told stories and rhymes in Sanskrit, even ‘Chandamama’ and the comics printed in Sanskrit are available. Many foreign students also visit the village to learn Sanskrit and stay with them in true guru-shishya tradition.For more than 25 years now the village has been in the forefront of a movement to keep spoken Sanskrit alive.
Jhiri comes under Rajgarh district of Madhya Pradesh. Total population of the village is 976 and all the people including small children, women, elder people, school-going children, literate and illiterate speak fluently in Sanskrit. Sanskrit Bharati had started conducting Sanskrit Sambhashan camps in the village in 2002 through an activist Vimla Tewari. She had come here only for one year. But in that one year she developed so much interest of the villagers to the divine language that everybody in the village turned to learn Sanskrit. Now all the villagers love Vimla as their own daughter.
In Jhiri, the farmers while ploughing their field even order their oxen in Sanskrit and the oxen too follow those instructions.
Some other such Sanskrit speaking villages are as follows:
- Hosahalli (Karnataka)
- Mohad (Madhya Pradesh)
- Baghuwar (Madhya Pradesh)
Due to the Sanskrit language caste, discrimination between the so-called lower and upper castes has reduced. Those who speak the language can hold his head high in the society. The oneness of the society leads to the development of the village.
Post by: Rishabh Sharma