Monday, 6 August 2012

In their homes, Sanskrit is not lost in translation

In the Gajjar household, the day begins with a suprahbatam and ends with a shubhratri. To the uninitiated, the two italicised words may sound like Hindi but are in fact Sanskrit version of good morning and good night.
The Gajjar’s are just a handful of families (48) in the city and state trying to keep alive Sanskrit through regular use in everyday conversation. In fact, Satish Gajjar and his family converse only in Sanskrit. The 38-year-old resident of Surendranagar said he took to the practice eight years ago.
“When I married, my wife Gayatri did not know the language. But as I insisted on only speaking in it she too learned it. The first year was difficult but then she took picked it up,” said Gajjar. Incidentally, he speaks to his parents in Gujarati.
His 8-year-old daughter Devki and 3-year-old son Vidit also converse with their parents in Sanskrit. “Vidit is too young to converse but whatever words he has learned so far all are in Sanskrit and hence follows it brilliantly,” said Gajjar.
When asked if he doesn’t worry about his children being affected by the use of a language that majority don’t use, he said, “They study in Gujarati medium and are fluent in it as well. Sanskrit is like any other language, the only difference being it is not much in vogue but I don’t think speaking it puts my children at any disadvantage whatsoever,” said Gajjar.
Mihir Upadhyay, a Sanskrit teacher, is another man who uses the language to converse at home. “At times, we do take to speaking in Gujarati but Sanskrit remains the dominant language at home. My wife is a Sanskrit teacher as well and hence it is easy for us,” said Upadhyay. He said, in all, there are around 48 families in the state trying to keep alive the language through regular use.
“My mother learned the language from me and now we often converse in it,” said Upadhyay.

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