- India has been endowed with a great culture and heritage, but we neglect it. Our Sanskriti is like an unused treasure.
- Many scholars say the most suitable and appropriate language for computers is Sanskrit.
- Sanskrit is one such language which is still alive after a gap of 1,200 years. It is also one of the richest languages of the world: CM.
- Scriptures of Sanskrit have solutions to most of our worldly problems.
On June 20, 2012, a cultural programme in Sanskrit on the occasion of Asadhasya Pratham Divase, Tridalam-2012, was jointly organized by Gujarat Government’s Sanskrit Sahitya Academy and Sanskrit Bharati in Ahmedabad. You can view the details of the event here.
A warm welcome to those seated on the dais, my colleagues Shri Fakirbhai Vaghela and Shri Jaisinhbhai Chauhan, dignitaries who have dedicated their whole lives to ‘Sanskrit’ and ‘Sanskriti’ and students who have decided to devote their entire lives to Sanskrit!
Unfortunately, it seems as if slavery still exists in India and that the country has not yet been able to come out of it. Our country has been endowed with a great culture and heritage, but we neglect it. Our Sanskriti is like an unused treasure. Our ancestors who used to study Science have given us an inexhaustible heritage, but as long as we don’t feel proud of what we have and what our ancestors have given us, our outlook towards life will never change.
Life revolves around activities that are associated with wealth. We might have access to invaluable treasure, but it is of no use, till the time it remains unused. The problem arises when people acknowledge but do not work towards making this wealth a great asset to the nation? Nobody wants to put in efforts and hard work.
Our Indian Sanskriti is such that if you are a student of Sanskrit language, then you won’t have to suffer in your life. You will get all kinds of opportunities to grow in life.
Today, Astrology is known to be a well known profession and is being associated with money. People from the so called elite class are today seen standing in queues and paying through the nose for consulting an Astrologer. These people on one hand call themselves staunch atheists and defame India’s culture and on the other hand visit a fortune-teller. Why? It is because in this, lie their vested interests. If this aspect of our culture finds its relevance today, then I think there might be other aspects of our culture that might also find relevance today.
NASA might be doing a lot in the field of astronomy, but our ancestors also contributed in the same field. I am of the opinion that if India takes a step in the direction of combining our ancestors’ knowledge and Science, then I am sure we can give something new and valuable to the world. Today, whatever we learn in Science and whatever new discoveries are being made related to planetary orbits, activity of the Earth and the Sun, distance between two planets—all this has already been carried out by our ancestors long time back in the past.
Our ancestors might have said 1,000 years ago that in 2020, an eclipse would occur on a specific date, at a given time and for so many minutes. All the data related to this was available long back.
Many scholars say the most suitable and appropriate language for computers, upon which we rely so much these days, is Sanskrit. In India, radio came into existence but there was no Sanskrit news broadcast on it. Similarly television came to India but there was no channel that broadcast Sanskrit news. Sanskrit news was broadcast in Germany for the first time in the world and not in India. After this incident, Indians felt that why is Sanskrit news being broadcast in Germany first and not in India? Later Sanskrit news got broadcast in India too. I feel if Sanskrit language is made available to people of USA for learning, I am sure people will be able to grasp and learn it fast. And once a language is accepted by the people of USA, Indians too will start accepting and respecting it as well. This is how things work in India—anything from West is sure to get importance and acknowledgement.
I would say you might not be Sanskrit scholar, but you do understand speeches given in Sanskrit. This indicates that you have a sense of belonging towards Sanskrit and that it’s not only you who feel close to the language but people from Assam or Kerela too feel the same. The time you took to comprehend a speech in Sanskrit, the same amount of time would people from other states take in comprehending a Sanskrit speech. This is indicative of the uniting power of the language, which is a priceless asset in itself.
Now if you look into the past, you will find that in a time span of 1,200 years of slavery, Sanskrit scholars could not find a way to expand the scope of the language anywhere. Whatever efforts were made, were made in the direction of preserving the language. Sanskrit is one such language which is still alive after a gap of 1,200 years. If the language had received its fair share of attention and due respect, imagine the heights it would have scaled in a period of 1200 years.
If we understand thoroughly, we realise that even after a gap of 1,200 years the language still holds so much relevance. It is indicative of the fact that Sanskrit has a potential of becoming a great language. People even today get totally engrossed while studying the language. I believe it is not only India’s but the entire world’s misfortune as Sanskrit couldn’t be developed during those 1200 years. Had it been given the due importance it deserved, we would not have to face so many problems today. Scriptures of Sanskrit have solutions to most of our worldly problems. If you talk about Vedic Mathematics in India today, people will think you are some weird person and that from where you got the idea of learning Vedic Mathematics. People will say you are a conservative and that you want to take the country back to 18th century. It is the scientific era and how can you even talk about introducing Vedic Mathematics.
Friends! In how many countries of the world, students are taught Vedic Maths? A Vedic Maths student will take same amount of time as a computer will take to solve sums. Whenever Science fairs are held in Gujarat, we encourage students to do the experiments related to Science, Maths and Sanskrit. The last Science fair that I visited, I observed small modules based on Vedic Maths prepared by the students. And based on those modules, to everyone’s surprise, students of standard 7th, standard 8th and standard 9th had solved mathematical puzzles faster than a computer. The reason they could do those puzzles was Vedic Maths. Sanskrit language has a lot to offer but because of people’s misconceptions, we are not able to embrace the good things of our own heritage. And in all this, the language has been lost somewhere.
It is the state government that is not only trying to preserve the language but also develop it. Friends! I am probably the only politician in this world, whose website is available in Hindi, English, Gujarati and Sanskrit. I never claim that I have done a service to the Sanskrit language by keeping the language in option. It is a medium through which I express my gratitude towards our country’s great heritage. Often modern people use ‘Sher-o-Shayari’ or gazals to express their feeling. Friends, we were taught Sanskrit maxims in school time. Our ancestors have given us the power to express things in the simplest ways. If someone asks me how to foster a child and inculcate good habits in him, I would say teach him 500 Sanskrit maxims and ask him to speak, write, read, debate and discuss in Sanskrit. I am confident that when the child grows up and faces any difficulty, the Sanskrit proverbs that he was taught in his childhood will show him the right way. If proverbs written, in a specific language, 1200 years back come in handy now, then the language is surely an asset for the people.
The language is available with us. How can we make use of it now in an effective manner? The Gujarat government made an effort last year— the Golden Jubilee Year— to teach one lakh people how to read, write and speak Sanskrit language. This experiment was quite successful. The person who learnt the language also made his or her family members learn the language simultaneously as they also didn’t have any knowledge of Sanskrit. This way, we instilled confidence into one lakh families in Gujarat during the Golden Jubilee Year. This also hinted at how easy and simple it is to learn Sanskrit.
Those felicitated here must acknowledge the fact that what they did was a great service for the society. They taught Sanskrit to one lakh people. Friends! Today I would say the parameters have changed. If Archaeology Department finds a 1,500-year-old stone with some carvings on it, nobody would be allowed to touch it. And lakhs of rupees would be spent on its preservation using Government money without any opposition from anyone. Nobody would have any problem. But, if money is demanded for preserving a 1500-year-old scripture or digitising an old book, people will surely ask questions like this— “Is government’s money going to be used for preserving the scripture?” Friends! Such is the scenario these days. People don’t mind spending lakhs on preservation of a stone, but the same money can’t be spent to preserve a heritage scripture.
Ladies and gentlemen! Archaeology is also a subject associated with Sanskrit and preservation of antiques is equally important. It should not be given less importance. Every stone is valuable. I remember Dr Godani, a medical practitioner, was completely devoted to archaeology. Once I went to meet him and see all his collection. He told me that he has wasted 20 Fiats while wandering and collecting stones. He said on weekends he would search for stones in dense forests in his Fiat. And after spending time searching, he found stones! Dr Godani had a huge collection of stones. I also saw one of his slide shows. Amongst the stones collected, there was an 800-year-old stone with a carving of a gravid woman on it. It was not the work of a doctor because 800 years back, there would be no doctors. So a common man must have done this. The stone had a foetus inside a womb carved on its surface. Layers could also be clearly seen cut on it. Science is only 150-years-old whereas people who carved such paintings seemed to have knowledge about Science some 800-years back. This shows we knew about Science long back than others!
Today is the day to feel proud about our heritage. This is the occasion to honour and reward those who have devoted their lives to the language Sanskrit. New generation will be inspired from the old generation and this will work towards uniting the two generations. People in this field today should be felicitated as they are in the age-group of 25-35 and thus they will have a lot of years to themselves to teach Sanskrit language to others. They will be able to realise that their next 50-60 years are going to be devoted to the promotion of the language and also in motivating others to learn it. We have begun a program ‘Ashadhasya Pratham Divase’ and as a part of it, I congratulate all the dignitaries who have devoted their lives to the spread of Sanskrit. I also invite you to contribute to the language. Let us be all determined to do something for the benefit of the language. With this expectation, once again I congratulate you all!!!
Jai Jai Garvi Gujarat..!!