Native speakers of Sanskrit...

dmenon at dmenon at
Mon May 6 02:53:55 UTC 1996

At 07:10 AM 5/5/96 BST, you wrote:
>Robert Zydenbos writes:

>Perhaps we should also reflect on what "Indian" means. Isn't "India", as a
>cultural entity, something closely tied with the spread of Sanskrit as a medium
>of intellectual exchange?
Dan Lusthaus wrote:

>>        Further, since before the time of the Buddha and MahAvIra (both who
>>deigned not to speak Sanskrit, and whose followers turned to Sanskrit only
>>after many centuries, and even then often in Prakrit forms), no one was
>>born into a family whose native language was Sanskrit. Especially the
>>Paninian Sanskrit seems to have been almost as artifical a language as
>>medieval Latin.

To say that No one has Sanskrit is not the native language is probably not
correct. THere is a village in Karnataka State in India (the name escapes
me, may be some one else in the list knows?) who speakes only Sanskrit.
While the parents in this village may know other languages, would you say
that the children who grew up hearing (only) Sanskrit would consider
themselves to be native speakers of Sanskrit.

Further due to the 'Speak Sanskrit" movement in India, where by there is an
increasing amount of families who speake only Sanskrit at home, and the
children born into these families become "native" speakers of the language.

The question as to who is Indian need to be answered not on the basis of
languages, but on the basis of the indeginous people of the Indian subcontinent.


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