Saturday, January 23, 2010

Uttarakhand Makes Sanskrit Second Official Language

Sanskrit, which is considered as mother of all Indo-Aryan languages, is now the second official language of the north Indian state of Uttarakhand.  The Uttarakhand Legislative Assembly approved a historic bill on December 23, 2009 to make Sanskrit its second official language after Hindi.

Terming it as a historic development Chief Minister of Uttarakhand Ramesh Pokhariyal 'Nishank' said that this was the first time in the world that a state was going to officially adopt Sanskrit.  He added that Sanskrit was not just a language, but also a tool to spread wisdom.

Mr. Nishank stated that it was apt for a region like Devbhoomi ('Land of Gods' as Uttarakhand is often called as) to adopt Sanskrit, since the region has been the home of sages.  From earliest times, numerous sages have used Sanskrit for propagating knowledge in our country.  It was his wish that we utilize the vast powerhouse of information available.  This step would go a long way in fulfilling this desire.

The state would soon draw up a plan for practical use of Sanskrit in official work.  The government stated that it would actively ensure the use of Sanskrit in official communication, besides encouraging people to learn the language.

Incidentally, Sanskrit already has a special status in Article 351 of the Constitution of India as a primary source for enrichment of Hindi.  In 2005, it was also declared as a classical language.

It should be noted here that Sanskrit is spoken by only about 0.005% of Indian population in India.  Though, it has a vast and varied knowledge in it, its use was only limited to the priest group in ancient India and the common public was prohibited to learn it by law.  Perhaps this move of Uttarakhand government would help to propagate this language in the masses.

That Sanskrit has become the second official language of the state is a good news for Sanskrit lover in the state and the beginning of a new chapter.

Ref:  Pratiyogita Darpan Magzine, January 2010.

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