The entire Zomato ‘language controversy’ has once again brought attention to the state of languages being spoken across the country. The customer care executive, despite serving a regional demography of population down south, wasn’t well versed with the local language and it eventually led to the snowballing of the controversy. However, what if the regional languages were made the state languages respectively and Sanskrit, the national language?
Investment in regional languages means that we get to preserve our rich cultural history that is slowly eroding with the advent of globalization. Moreover, it also helps promote the virtues of multiculturalism through multilingualism.
Tragic decline of Indic languages’
Barring the southern states, where people still take a lot of pride in their regional languages, the northern states have practically seen regional languages get extinct.
The tragic decline of regional languages in the post-independence era is a standing testimony to the misguided and disastrous policies formed followed by the successive governments that have preferred to listen to the cacophony of selected individuals claiming to represent the entirety of communities.
From Bhojpuri and Maithili in Bihar, Awadhi in Uttar Pradesh, Marwari in Rajasthan, Kumaoni and Garhwali in Uttarakhand, Assamese and Bodo in the North East amongst several others, these languages need the support to flourish. The support can help them survive so that future generations have a chance to grasp the sweetness of their history.
Sanskrit, the framework on which regional languages are built
As for Sanskrit, understandably there is a large populace that is against Hindi being imposed as a national language but what if Sanskrit takes the centre stage? Sanskrit is one of the languages that forms the basic framework of a variety of Indian regional languages like Tamil, Kannada, Malayalam, and Telugu. Reportedly, all modern languages in India draw about 50 percent from Sanskrit, with Malayalam and Kannada topping the list.
As a language, Sanskrit has had a profound influence on many other languages and has resiliently borne the brunt of time. For years, it remained the primary knowledge-bearing and culture-bearing language of India.
Preserving our heritage through Sanskrit
Although we might have lost touch of the Sanskrit language owing to Mughal and colonial rules and later the emergence of absurd theories like Dravidian philosophy, India as a civilization could still potentially blossom from the sheer amount of Sanskrit literature present. For instance, Hindu religious works are abundant and the ability to preserve and memorize these in Sanskrit should become the routine.
We would be quoting Krishna and Rama in the place of people like Nietzsche, Bernard Shaw and other assorted foreigners, who are alien to our collective conscience. This in turn, would make India the only (potentially) culturally dharmic nation on Earth – which we are not today, despite being a Hindu majority.
Scholars from the Romantic period (18th century) to contemporary times have paid tribute to the brilliance of Sanskrit and its contribution to the enrichment of all-around literature. Such has been the influence of the world’s oldest language.
Thus, it makes sense to have a language at the top of the hierarchy that has aided in the development of regional languages, which in turn, will continue to blossom if they are officially promoted as state languages. With this, the Sanskrit language would be given the respect and the breathing space to reclaim its old glory once again.