How has Sanskrit influenced the languages of India?

Image Credit:
Main Image: 
Image of Sanskrit

Sanskrit is an ancient Indo- Aryan language featuring in the list of the twenty-two officially recognized languages of India. The origin of Sanskrit can be dated back to 1500 BCE as used in Vedic Sanskrit. The word Sanskrit is derived from the original word sa?sk?tam which means "well formed, elaborated and refined". Among the Indo-Aryan languages, Sanskrit is one of the most ancient and culturally important languages. Several Hindu religious texts such as the Vedas have been originally written in Sanskrit. Sanskrit has been adopted as the official language of the newly formed Uttarakhand state in North India. Sanskrit basically uses the Devanagari script besides other Southeast Asian writing systems.



What is Classical Sanskrit?

Classical Sanskrit refers to the standard register existing in the grammar of Panini, developed in 4th century BCE. However the oldest form of Sanskrit is perhaps the Vedic Sanskrit as found in the Rigveda dating back to early 1500BCE. Classical Sanskrit can be found in the Hindu Epics of Ramayana and Mahabharata. Sanskrit is the language of prayers and scripture in Hinduism and has influenced Indian languages just as Latin has influenced European languages and the effect of Classical Chinese language is seen on East Asian languages.



How has Sanskrit influenced the languages of India?

Sanskrit has largely influenced various vernacular languages used in India that are based on the vocabulary and grammar found in Sanskrit. The Indo-Aryan and Dravidian languages have borrowed many words from Sanskrit either directly or indirectly. Most Hindu religious and temple rites are conducted in Vedic Sanskrit with Sanskrit mantras having a sacred place for most Hindus. Modern Indian languages such as Bengali, Nepali, Konkani, Assamese and Marathi have a largely Sanskrit vocabulary base. Similarly, Dravidian languages such as Malayalam, Kannada and Telugu have nearly fifty percent of words originating from Sanskrit.



How is Sanskrit used as a Symbolic Language?

The Sanskrit language is kept alive through Sanskrit mottos that are used by a number of educational, government and social organizations in India, Indonesia and Nepal. For instance the motto of the Indian Republic is in Sanskrit – “'??????? ???'”(Satyameva Jayate) which means “Truth alone triumphs”. Similarly the Indian Navy, Airforce and Coast Guard are identified by their Sanskrit Mottos. The Sanskrit motto popularly used in Nepal is “???? ??????????? ?????????? ?????'”( Janani Janmabh?misca Svarg?dapi gar?yasi) which translates to “Mother and motherland are greater than heaven”. The Indonesian Navy uses the motto “???????? ?????'” (Jalesveva Jayamahe) which means “On the Sea We Are Glorious”



What is the Modern Use of Sanskrit?

In the West, it is common to name scientific terms using Greek or Latin words just as Sanskrit is commonly used to name administrative terms and scientific developments in India and Nepal. For instance, the five missiles developed by the DRDO sponsored Indian Guided Missile Program, were named with the Sanskrit terms-Prithvi, Akash, Agni, Trishul and Nag. Similarly India’s indigenous fighter aircraft was given the Sanskrit name HAL Tejas. Sanskrit shlokas or verses are popularly used in modern films, and as slogans in advertisements and various private and government institutions. Sanskrit has also been used in western pop music made popular in the recordings by Madonna.


External References
Related Videos: 
See video
Related Videos: 
See video
Related Images: