15-12-2017 06:30 AM
Lathika Saju | My Indian Dream
The only village where people converse in Sanskrit
Recently I read news about a government college in Andhra Pradesh that has only one student learning the Sanskrit language. The Ranchi University in Jharkhand once boasted of their students speaking Sanskrit in the college campus. Sadly, the numbers of students taking up the Sanskrit course is dwindling.
Sanskrit, an ancient Indian language is the sacred language of Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. It is one of the 22 official languages in India, but few people are now interested in learning the language.
Therefore, it is heartening to know that a village in India use Sanskrit in their day to day life and is also ready to teach anyone who is interested in the language. The Mattur village where Sanskrit is spoken as a regional language is situated around 8 km from Shimoga district in Karnataka.
Here, you will find elders teaching Vedas in Sanskrit to the children till the age of ten. You will find everyone from a vegetable vendor to a graduate speaking in Sanskrit. Slogans and posters are also written in Sanskrit.
The history of this village is very interesting. Around six centuries ago, an ancient Brahmin community – the Sankethis made this village their home after migrating from Kerala. They spoke the language Sankethi which is a mix of Kannada, Tamil, bits of Telugu and Sanskrit. Once, during a Sanskrit workshop, the “Seer of the Pejawar Mutt” was surprised to see the interest shown by villagers to learn the language, exclaimed – “A place where the whole family speaks Sanskrit”, A Sanskrit village!
The villagers took this to heart and from then on, there was no looking back. Sanskrit became a way of life. The village has produced 30 Sanskrit professors teaching in reputed universities.
Don’t be misled by the thought that everything related to this village might be ancient and traditional. You will be surprised to see youngsters wearing T-Shirts and riding bikes conversing in Sanskrit. The village is a perfect blend of ancient culture with modernity as these young people are trying to revive the damaged ancient texts written on palm leaves by expanding and saving the script on the computer. The fact that the Mattur village has a lot of IT professionals, many of whom work abroad is evidence that the village is not detached from the modern world.
The village is also known for their efforts to support and propagate Gamaka art, which is a unique form of singing and storytelling in Karnataka. The efforts of the residents of the Mattur village to keep the language alive is really commendable. Let us hope that as people are gradually going back to their roots, there will be many more takers for the ancient and scientific language, Sanskrit.