The educated Indians – those who have studied up to SSLC and beyond- use English to communicate while traveling from one state to another. This may not be true in case of a few Northern states. A native of Haryana who speaks Hindi will invariably speak the same language when he visits U.P or Bihar.
However English helps the people very much when they travel across Southern states, Northern states and Eastern states. Though efforts are made to popularize Hindi to replace English (some times resisted as Hindi imposition), still English remains the widely accepted link language. Knowledge of English is seen as a sign of education.
How many of us are aware that SAMSKRITHAM (known as Sanskrit) was the link language once, uniting people from Kashmir to Kanyakumari- Punjab to North Eastern states? In fact it was more widely used if we consider undivided India (perhaps even Afghanistan and Myanmar). Knowledge of Smskritam was considered a sign of scholarship.
Great saints of South- Aadhi Shankara, Ramanuja, Madhvacharya, Vedanta Desika, Vidyaranya and many more hailing from Dravidian states had made lots of teachings and texts in chaste Sanskrit in addition to the similar works in their mother tongue (a Dravidian language)! Tamil which is considered to be a unique language with independent origin in fact became richer by adopting several Samskritam words and even earned the status of international language.
Sensing the importance of Sanskrit for our unity the foreign invaders, particularly Europians made it a point to systematically eliminate Sanskrit from our academia and walks of life. They succeeded to a large extent. Some of the Europian evangelists made South Indians believe that they belonged to a separate race . Many people in Tamil Nadu fell a prey to this campaign and they learnt to believe that Sansktitam was alien to their culture. Indeed English was not as much alien to them as Sanskrit! Most of them don’t even differentiate between present Hindi and Samskritam ,our ancient link language!
The book ‘BREAKING INDIA’ by Rajiv Malhotra (co-authored by Neelakantan) has brought out these anomalies in detail. Let us at least learn to respect this divine language Samkritam which is almost a symbol of Indian culture. Let there be efforts to popularize this language and at least incorporate more Sanskrit words in the present Hindi.
To ensure UNITY it is also essential to ensure that students in Northern states of India are compulsorily taught at least one Indian language other than Hindi or dialects of Hindi.
By: Kasthurirangan Rengamani