“God spoke once. He spoke in Sanskrit, and that is the divine language.”- Swami Vivekanand
In ancient India Sanskrit was the language, believed to be the language of Gods, was used by scholars. But today it is spoken by less than 1% of Indians, and it is mostly used by Hindu priests during religious ceremonies. Even in all the private schools, Sanskrit is used as an optional subject.
The Government’s move to promote Sanskrit as a language in our country has sparked a nationwide debate. But there is no such dilemma in a village in southern state of Karnataka.
Mattur, in Shimoga district, about 300km (186 miles) from the state capital Bangalore appears quite oblivious to the raging debate in India over the recent government order to replace German with Sanskrit in central schools.
Here in this village even a small shopkeeper talks in Sanskrit. Isn’t this amazing? While almost everyone in the rest of India is running after foreign language courses to earn good money abroad, the people of Mattur are trying to pass our ancient language to their next generation.
Today, 150 of the 400 students in the local Sri Sharada Vilasa school study Sanskrit as the first language, with English as the second language and Kannada or Tamil or any other regional language as their third language.
On asking their interest in the language, the children give an amazing response. They even say it helps them in understanding Kannada.
Many have gone abroad to study engineering and other studies from this small town. They say that Sanskrit has helped them all the way by delving deep into the language. Vedic mathematics has proved to be of great help.
BBC Hindi captured the beauty of Mattur and the power that Sanskrit has given the people.