Thursday, February 16, 2006

symposium at Univ Maryland: Reviving a "dead" language

feb 16th

not 'dead' but 'murdered'.

linguicide courtesy nehruvians

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: UMd Samskritam <>
Date: Feb 14, 2006 8:51 AM
Subject: Reviving a "dead" language

Press Release:
Date : Feb 14, 2006
     It is believed to have originated more than 5000 years before, it might have been the precursor for many European languages, about which many linguists and computer experts have agreed upon as the language best suited for computer languages...  and yet considered in modern days as a "dead" language - we are speaking of sanskrit or samskritam

       A plethora of ancient Indian scriptures are in sanskrit, including Hindu and Buddhist ones, and many believe that the language itself may have originated in India a few millenia into the BC , from a more primitive form with a fundamental aim to propogate spiritual ideas, but was also used as a popular dialect in literature as well as daily usage. In fact the term "samskritam" literally means "refined" and the form it is known today follows rules of Panini(ca. 520 to 460 BCE), whose work in grammar is considered one of the best of its kind even today

       However, over the ages, due to variety of reasons, possibly including continued invasions of India, the common usage of the language died down and it got restricted to religious scriptures and the priests in temples and other missions. Linguistic scholars in Universities around the world, however maintained a continued interest in the language, but the number of students who would learn the language was on a rapid decline

       However, time and again, there has been numerous attempts at reviving sanskrit, in terms of preservation of its literature, as well making it popular as a spoken lannguage. One such attempt was started in 1981 by a group called Samskrita-Bharati, whose volunteers started conducting 10-day or weekend or week long spoken sanskrit camps in India. In fact their efforts met with huge success, and Samskrita-Bharati which has about 200 full time volunteers, claims that now there are 4 million people around the world who can speak the language, and that there are a few villages in India where the only language used by all the villagers for conversation is sanskrit  

        Samskrita-Bharati has been active in US since 1995, and has been conducting weekly classes, annual camps and so on. Recently the group found an ally in the University of Maryland, College Park campus - the two year old graduate student organization , Develop Empower and Synergize India or DESI as is popularly known . Together they conducted free weekly classes in Spring 2005, which met with a reasonable response

       However, a two-day workshop planned for february 25-26 , DESI claims, has met with a tremendous response. Says one of the DESI volunteers "We thought we will start publicising the workshop as early as mid- January eventhough many students are on vacation, so that we get enough number of registrations. But within few days of announcing it in our list-serve, we realised we were heading for a sell-out and we had to close the registrations at 50 and put people on waitlist . We have now planned a second for March 11-12, the registrations for which we hope to fill up soon"

       So is it to be taken that language is finally reaching out to the new generation, and heading for a big revival ? DESI and the student community on campus may find out some clues to this question in the days to come ...
        Details of the workshops can be obtained at

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1 comment:

siva said...

I would like to point out here that due to some crazy narrow minded Tamizh politicians, Tamizhs are branded as anti Samaskritam (in Tamizh Sanskrit is Samaskritam) Historically it is not so.

There is a legend in Tamil that says the following, I am paraphrasing of course:
Sivanin kutupaiyil irundu vanda sathathil, oru puram irundu vandadu tamizh, marupuaram irundu vandadu samaskritam.

In English:
From the sounds emanated from Lord Siva’s drum, one side emanated Tamil and the other side emanated Samaskritam.

So common Tamizhian knows that Samaskritam inherently belongs to him as much as it belongs to non Tamizhs.

I want the bloggers here to know this and when any body spreads false propaganda that Tamizhs are against Samaskritam, they can cite this example and tackle them.