Sanskrit, India’s ancient language, making gradual comeback in Kerala’s Karamana Village
From a provisional store putting up menu in Sanskrit to a local tea stall giving Rs 1 discount for ordering in Sanskrit, Karamana Village here is slowly but surely edging close to become a Sanskrit Village, where one of the oldest languages is making a comeback.
Located in Thiruvananthapuram, there are 18 streets and a whiteboard at the entrance of each one to greet you with a line in Sanskrit and it’s translation.
“After COVID-19, the business was low. That’s when I came up with this idea of giving a discount to those who order in Sanskrit. In Malayalam, if you order Vada you have to give Rs 5. But if you order Masha Vadakam (Sanskrit name) you will get it for Rs 4,” said Mani, a tea shop owner in Karamana, who sends his children to learn Sanskrit in a weekly language class.
Mani said that his business in tea stall has doubled after promoting Sanskrit, basic lessons of which he learned from a Sanskrit teacher, who take classes in the Karamana village.
Janani, the Sanskrit teacher whose love for the language started when she was a student, attended classes in ‘Karamana Agraharam’ in 2001, and later went on to take a professional degree in the said language.
“From being a student in Sanskrit, today I am teaching more than 50 people regularly. This includes children as well as adults from the locality,” said Janani.
“In my mind, this is a unique attempt. And, it is receiving a large number of participants including this tea stall. The language is spreading its wings among those who haven’t studied Sanskrit. This tea stall owner is helping in doing so,” said A. Adikesavan, a resident of Karamana.
“This is the kind of spread that this initiative requires,” he said adding, “For a language which is very old, classical and almost gone is re-acquiring and re-discovering its root.”“We have started the promotion of Sanskrit language in this village in November 2018. The initiative is a part of an organisation -- Vishwa Samskrita Pratishtanam and Samskritha Padana Pracharana Kendram in Kerala,” said Mahadevan, son of an eminent Sanskrit scholar.
Mahadevan said, “We started with 20 days program called Shibiram, where one is taught how to speak English. It like a nursery school, they start from teaching your name. Another initiative, Grah Sambarga is an advanced stage where we visit house to house to educate people.”
“People are used to Sanskrit here especially with a lot of religious activities. For them it’s not a foreign language it is their culture. There are so many Sanskrit speaking pandits as well,” he further said.
Before initiating Shibiram, we were not sure whether people would come or not but on the first day, we ran out of the space. This gave us a lot of confidence. Later, a nearby hotel, Annapurna introduced with Sanskrit menu to encourage people to speak the language, he added.
(This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.)