Dr. K. Jamanadas,
National Language of India
A lecturer friend of mine, who was trying to convince me that learning becomes easy in student’s mother tongue, was taken aback to hear from me that India does not have a mother tongue, it has mother tongues. Does India have a national language? Presumably, it does, and it is Hindi. How it came to become a national language is described by Dr. Ambedkar who was present in the Congress Party meeting as Chairman of the Drafting Committee when the Draft Constitution of India was being considered, on the issue of adopting Hindi as the National language:
“…There was no article which proved more controversial than Article 115 which deals with the question. No article produced more opposition. No article more heat. After a prolonged discussion when the question was put, the vote was 78 against 78. The tie could not be resolved. After a long time when the question was put to the party meeting the result was 77 against 78 for Hindi. Hindi won its place as a national language by one vote. I am stating these facts from my personal knowledge. …” [Ambedkar B. R., Thoughts on Linguistic States, Writings & Speeches, Maharashtra Govt., 1989, vol. 1, p. 148]
It is not known, whether the member had gone out in the mean time and was absent during voting the second time, but surely it does not speak highly of a language to have been declared as “National” under such circumstances. This is specially so, when in practice, whole of India thinks in English, may be it is Law, Medicine, Sports, Commerce, Accounting, Cinema, Literature, Poetry or any other field of life. In the homes of elites, English is not only spoken by children and servants but also their pets like cats and dogs.
Language Problem of India
The question of language is a tricky problem in India. India is a vast country. True. It was much vaster in ancient times. Now it has been divided into three countries. In India itself, there are numerous languages. Some of them are official languages and some are struggling to become official. The country is divided into provinces on the basis of language. Gandhiji had promised to do that before independence. So it was done. The strangest thing is that the people fight among themselves on the basis of language, as if the linguistic provinces are two different nations. Dr. Ambedkar had warned that there is a very thin line between linguistic provinces and linguistic nations and he had suggested some safeguards and remedies to prevent the calamity of converting the linguistic provinces into linguistic nations. Unfortunately no heed was paid to his wise advice. We have to consider whether India was always having multiple languages, and why there are so many languages in India and why does the speech differ every few miles.
Origin of language
Itihasacharya V. K. Rajwade explained that Language originated from sound, script originated from pictures, expression from natural body movements and utensils from the figures seen. All this was invented by the wisdom of man himself by hard work of trial and error, and not due to any imaginary gods or asuras in imaginary heaven or hell. That voice originated from damaru of Shankara, Gandhaba-kanya taught the art of drawing pictures, acting was taught by some kinnara, and making of utensils was taught by some imaginary vishwakarma are all myth, fantasy and a pack of lies, nothing is divine, all these arts are acquired by man by efforts and by learning from trial and error. [Rajwade V. K., bharatiya vivah sansthe cha itihas, marathi, p. 106]
Language of masses was different
Mr. Nair explains quoting authorities, that language of the masses is different from that of the “classes”. This difference is calculated by the elites for establishing and maintaining their supremacy. As Nair quotes Lapier:
“A language is a system of cultural definition whereby meanings are assigned to a great variety of specific sound combinations thereof and among a literate people, graphic representations thereof. But the members of the society seldom speak or even write in terms of the culturally designated definitions. They speak and write in some special vernacular which differs both quantitatively and qualitatively from the official language i.e. from the language as embodied among a literate people in dictionaries, manuals of grammar and the like”. [`Theory of social control’ p. 261, quoted by Nair B. N., “The Dynamic Brahmin”, p.68]
Was Sanskrit a spoken language?
Contrary to the recent hindutwavadi propaganda, it is a well established fact that Sanskrit was never a spoken language:
“Let us remember that Sanskrit as its meaning indicates was never a spoken language and that it was only a purified version of the language that was in popular usage such as Prakrit, and that its refinement and the codification of grammar in an unalterable form was the work of grammarians like Panini.” [Nair B. N., “The Dynamic Brahmin”, p.67]
Even strong protagonists like Pandit Mishra aver that it was a spoken language but the “spoken” means, it was spoken by “shishtas” i.e. elite (meaning Brahmins) alone. Rest of the masses were speaking Prakrit. [Mishra, p.376] Even in late Sanskrit drammas, as is well known, the charectors of higher castes speak Sanskrit, and the others speak Prakrit. So speech depended on the caste.
Views of Prof. Rhys Davids
His opinion is perhaps the consensus opinion and based upon deep study of scriptures, sculptures and epigraphs both Brahmanical as well as Buddhistic. He observes:
“… Priests have preserved for us, not so much the opinions the people actually held, as the opinions the priests wished them to hold. … What had happened with respect to religious belief is on a par with what had happened with respect to language. From Takkasila all the way down to Champa no one spoke Sanskrit. The living language, everywhere, was a sort of Pali. Many of the old Vedic words were retained in more easily pronounceable forms. Many new words had been formed, on analogy, from the existing stock of roots. Many other new word had been adopted from non- Aryan form of speech. Many Aryan words, which do not happen to occur in the Vedic texts, had nevertheless survived in popular use. And mean while, in the schools of the priests, and there only, a knowledge of the Vedic language (which we often call Sanskrit) was kept up. But even this Sanskrit of the schools had progressed, as some would say, or had degenerated, as others would say, from the Vedic standard. And the Sanskrit in actual use in the as it is from the so- called classical Sanskrit of the post Buddhistic poems and plays.” [Rhys Davids, Buddhist India, p. 211 ff., emphasis ours]
He avers that, outside the schools of the priests, the curious and interesting beliefs recorded in the Rig Veda had practically little effect, and Vedic theosophy was never a popular faith. Vedic rituals are not of simpler faith, and are advanced. The gods of the older system – the dread Mother Earth, the dryads and the dragons, the dog-star, even the moon the sun have been cast into the shade by the new gods of the fire, the exciting drink, and the thunderstorm. The mystery and the magic of the ritual of the sacrifice had complications and expense. [Rhys Davids, Buddhist India, p. 211 ff.]
Max Muller, who believed that thoughts in Rigveda were primitive, as these thoughts are so bizarre and absurd that they cannot be considered as advanced, and one is so accustomed to consider the priesthood as the great obstacle to any way of reform in India, he averred, that it is difficult to believe that the Brahmins could ever, as a class have championed the newer views. Rhys Davids, disagreeing with Max Muller, believed that the beliefs recorded in the Rig Veda are not primitive or original, as proved by comparison with evolution of religious beliefs elsewhere. These beliefs were in the view of the men who formulated them, a kind of advance on the previous ideas. And when the Rig Veda was finally closed there were many other beliefs, commonly held among the Aryans in India, but not represented in that Veda. [Rhys Davids, Buddhist India, p. 211 ff.]
Social Control through language
The so called “purity” of Sanskrit makes it a dead language, may be true, but that was the intention of the users, to safeguard their own supremacy over the masses. Nair exclaims:
“… The maintenance of the purity of Sanskrit language since the days of Panini until the present day is wonder of wonders that is largely to be explained by the tenacity of the Brahmin to preserve it as such, as the sacred language of status group even though their spoken language was, by and large, the local languages or a mixture of the two. This is not to admit that early Sanskrit before it reification did not borrow words from Dravidian languages and made them its own. As a matter of fact detailed research in the linguistic prehistory India is bound to reveal many instances for such a fusion of Tamil words into Sanskrit, especially that style of Sanskrit which came to be used for limited secular purposes.” [Nair B. N., “The Dynamic Brahmin”, p.68]
Sanskrit is static language
Ancient Tamil grammar Tolkapium, Nair says, was a “scientific treatise on grammar” created to “safeguard the system of cultural definitions”. Brahmins maintained purity of their language because of the fear of local language of masses. Why did the Brahmins try to keep their language different than that of the masses? The reason is that they wanted to maintain their supremacy through it. The process is continuing even now. When elites speak of it a “pure” they actually mean “static”, and anything becomes static then it merits the title of “dead”. Mr. Nair explains the tendency:
“The purity of Sanskrit since the days it assumed its present grammatical shape is to be explained by it static state, as the restricted and sole vehicle of a sacerdotal class who jealously preserved it from the corroding influence of non-Brahmin languages. This they did out of fear as experience had already taught them that in the mutual impact it was Sanskrit that stood the chance of loosing its integrity and getting assimilated with the “Paisachi” language which was widely prevalent in the subcontinent of India at the time of their arrival. So then true to the spirit and apostolic motivation of cultural conquerors they set about to conquer the speakers of the language but also the latter’s language itself. There is a hymn in the Rig Veda which expresses this wish most solemnly and which may have been recited by countless generations of Brahmins,”May we conquer the ill-speaking man” [Nair B. N., “The Dynamic Brahmin”, p.69]
Panini was ignorant about history: Rajwade
Itihasacharya Rajwade had done a lot of work not only in history but also in linguistic field. He explained the code language of Mahanubhavas as well as he explained origin of Sanskrit. He declared that Panini had no knowledge of amalgamation and mixture of primitive societies. He explained how the use of neuter gender in Sanskrit originated from the mixture of two societies, one having a nasal twang and other without it. While explaining grammar, Rajwade scientifically uses the sociological concepts, and clarifies what Panini could not. He declares boldly that Panini had no historical perspective and that Panini’s belief, that Sanskrit is the language of the devas and hence anaadi, (having no beginning), as “eccentric”. He avers that there is not a single word or a phrase in whole of ashtadhyai of Panini, which could suggest that Sanskrit originated from Vedic language. Panini could not ever think that Sanskrit is the corrupt or hybrid form of Vedic language. Because of this disregard of history, Panini thought there was no world before Vedas, and no time before it. His thoughts are thus opposed to progress and because of his ignorance, the society became dejected about the future. There were many pre-vedic languages, then Vedic, then Panini’s Sanskrit, then Prakrit, and regional languages like Marathi etc. is the progressive evolution, but because of Panini’s thoughts this was considered as degeneration. Panini’s ashtadhyai is the well known example of how the unhistorical attitude causes the gross damage, he observes. [Rajwade V. K., bharatiya vivah 0sansthe cha itihas, marathi, introduction by S.A.Dange p. 21]
Ancient language of whole of India was Tamil
Rajwade acknowledges the Aryans have come from outside India and the original indigenous residents were the Naagas. They were expert in drawing pictures, they later married Vedic Aryans and it is customary to include Naaga vamsha into the Aryan fold. He also acknowledges the presence of non-Aryan languages like Asur bhasha, Dravida bhasha, Chinese and Red Indian and African languages. [Rajwade V. K., bharatiya vivah sansthe cha itihas, marathi, p. 100]
Paishachi language was Tamil is the experts’ view. Having made it clear that Paishachi language was a very rich language, and very widely spoken, let us see the experts’ views on what was this language. Before Aryans could influence things here, the language of India was “Paishachi”, which meant Tamil, and it was spoken from Kashmir to Kanyakumari. Nair observes:
“According to Mr. Oldham there are ample evidences to show that the so-call “Paisachi” language was spoken throughout India. He says “It is evident that the old Sanskrit Grammarians considered the language of the Dravidian countries to be connected with the vernaculars of Northern India; and that in their opinion it was especially related to the speech of those who as we have seen, were apparently descended from the Asura tribes. Thus in the Shahasha Chandrika Lakshmidhara says that the Paisachi language is spoken in the Paisachi countries of Pandya, Kekaya Vahlika, Sahya, Nepala, Kuntala, Sudarsha, Bota, Gandhara, Haiva and Kangana and there are Paisachi countries. Of all the vernaculars the Paisachi is said to have contained the smallest infusion of Sanskrit”. [Nair B. N., “The Dynamic Brahmin”, p.70]
Dr. K. M. Panikar has something equally interesting to say; “The distribution of the indigenous races even today in the uplands of South Bihar and in the eastern areas of Madhya Pradesh and the persistence of the Bhils in the Aravalli and Vindhya ranges show that as a population momentum the Aryan invasion ceased to have any momentum after it reached the Gangetic valley. The gradual spread of Hinduism all over India and with it the Aryan speech should not blind us to the fact that even in North India outside the Punjab the Aryans contributed only a racial strain. In Gujrat and in Maharashtra the neo-Aryans were able to improve their language but in the Deccan and in the South the Dravidian speech not only held its own but was able to drive out the Austric and other linguistic elements. The spread of Aryanism and Sanskrit, originally associated with Agastiyas’ crossing of the Vindhyas became, an accomplished fact only in the first centuries of the Christian era as may be seen from the earlier Paisachi tradition of the Satavahana Emperors of Pratishtan” [K. M. Panikker, Geographical Factors in Indian History, 1955, quoted by Nair B. N., “The Dynamic 0Brahmin”, p.70]
Paisachi was Tamil
Nair confirms that Paishachi was Tamil.
“Now we may ask: what could have been this Paisachi language other than the Tamil of pre-Tholkappian epoch? Indeed, the author of Tholkappiyam (who is considered to be a Brahmin himself) felt as much nervous about the vigour of Sanskrit or more possibly Prakrit as the Brahmin Aryans felt consternation about the richness of this “Paishachi” language. In spite of this, it is evident that the two languages could not continue side by side in certain regions without influencing one another for their mutual benefit. Hence it is that we find that rules have been laid down in Tholkappiyam for the adoption of Sanskrit words under certain conditions and subject to certain rules while Prakrit itself normally absorbed certain Dravidian 0features.” [Nair B. N., “The Dynamic Brahmin”, p.70]
Ashokan India was speaking Prakrit and not Sanskrit Hindutwavadis like to project that the main stream of Indian thought flows through Sanskrit. This is totally false, as can be seen by historical evidences of epigraphs. Original inscriptions were not Sanskrit. Apart from Ashoka’s edicts, the most ancient inscriptions of Arekmedu, which talk of Buddha’s teachings, were not in Sanskrit but in Prakrit. Another European authority Dr. J. Filliozat is worth quoting in this respect:
“Even much later, in the first half of the first century of Christian era when appeared the first dated Tamil inscriptions, those of Virapatnam – Arikamedu near Pondicherry, Sanskrit was not yet current in Tamilanad as the inscriptions in an Indo-Aryan language found along with the Tamil inscriptions are in Prakrit. These inscriptions are no doubt very short and very few but we can at least be sure that they are exactly comparable with those of Ceylon at the same epoch; here also middle-Indian was employed and not Sanskrit. The characters of these inscriptions around the beginning of the Christian era the same and very similar in their shapes to the ancient Brahmi of Ashoka, giving supplementary evidence of the importance of the contribution of Ashoka’s empire to the culture in the South. [Nair B. N., “The Dynamic Brahmin”, p.71]
As late as Pallava times, the earlier Pallava inscriptions were in Prakrit and not Sanskrit.
Not only the inscriptions, but even the classical Tamil literature of second or third century was not Sanskrit, but Tamil. The same author observes:
“If we now consider the ancient Tamil works, we find in almost all some allusion to vedic or Brahmanic rites and the use of some Sanskrit words though very few. When Indo Aryan words are adopted in Tamil in Sangam literature they are more frequently borrowed form Prakrit forms or with Prakritic features. Surely Sanskrit and Prakrit cultures were known to some extent in Tamilanad but rather through Prakrit than through Sanskrit. Massive influence of Sanskrit in Tamil literature took place much later”. [Dr. J. Filliozat on Tamil and Sanskrit in South India, in Tamil Culture, vol. IV, No. 4, Oct. 1955 quoted by Nair B. N., “The Dynamic Brahmin”, p.71]
Sanskrit gained ground because it was sonorous Nair explains why Sanskrit could catch up:
“Now going back to the base of our theoretical structure viz. local Hinduism we find that Sanskrit language spread through ritualistic practices introduced by the Brahmins in the “Gramakshetra” or village temple. Ritualistic Sanskrit was mostly poetry and it was poetry in the form of Manthras and stotras that first caught the profane ears of the non- Brahmin temple worshipper. These Manthras and Stotras were resonant with sonorous words and phrases and so replete which imagery that when recited aloud they seldom failed to evoke strong feelings of devotion in the minds of the hearer who knew the mythology behind this majestic poetry. Here lies the beginnings of the social control of the Brahmin through a language which was reified and strengthened to suit their purposes.” [Nair B. N., “The Dynamic Brahmin”, p.72]
Nair further explains:
“As was pointed out earlier the spread of Sanskrit began with the recital of Sanskrit poetry rich in resonant poetic forms and phrases, e.g. Vedic hymns, strotras such as that by Shankaracharya. These verses with their suggestive and powerful words were so much in contrast with the soft and liquid sounds of the non-Aryan speeches that as compared to the former, the equivalents in the latter failed to evoke any feeling in the crowd. [Nair B. N., “The Dynamic Brahmin”, p.74]
Hindi was retaining Sanskrit Influence
At a time, when Brahmins decided to divide the country on the basis of language at the time of fall of Buddhism, they were careful enough to maintain superiority of Sanskrit influence. As Nair quotes:
“In fact historically also the growth of Hindi, despite its variations, has taken place in the Gangetic valley in such a way as to retain the purity of sense and meaning of Sanskrit words. This will be further seen by a study of the semantic changes that have taken places in Sanskrit words after their absorption in other regional languages. Viewed in this way, it is also clear why many orthodox Hindus are not willing to accept Hindustani as the national language because it contains a large strata of words from Persian, Arabic and Turkish which were spoken by former cultural conquerors. The adoption of Hindustani as the official language in place of Hindi would not be in keeping with the Brahmanical revival that is making itself prominently felt in India during the post-Independence period.” [Nair B. N., “The Dynamic Brahmin”, p.75]
Trick of trigger phrases
Nair explains how Sanskrit has been the effective vehicle for the spread of trigger phrases in Indian thought. The average educated Indian, especially a Hindu, cannot easily recognise these artificial trigger phrases and words in his speech, as he is unconsciously habituated for centuries to use these as a matter of second nature for him. In fact without these trigger words and phrases, he cannot find the correct word or a substitute word or phrase which is free from Sanskritic influence.” [Nair B. N., “The Dynamic Brahmin”, p.76]
Spread of Sanskrit
Nair explains, in the initial period, how Sanskrit spread so rapidly and influenced the thought processes of the masses while it started only as the language of ritual.:
“…The answer is simple enough. With the growth in power of Brahmin priests in their temples there was also the growth the growth in their importance and influence in the courts of kings and chieftains. The Dharma Shastras were incorporated in the puranas at a time (about the middle of the 4th century A.D.) when the Brahmins acquired the position of a status-group within the caste hierarchy. … The gradual stages by which Sanskrit became powerful in the South is best described by Dr. Filliozat. [Nair B. N., “The Dynamic Brahmin”, p.77]
Dr. Filliozat’s views are summarized below. Sanskrit words were borrowed but Tamil scholars continued the use their own grammar. Most known Sanskrit texts were Ayurveda and Jotishya, apart from Gita. Tamil saints, who were non-brahmins, used ordinary Tamil words without technical meaning, though Sanskrit ideas are alluded to. Their compositions were devotional and not philosophical. Tamil was used more till Shankara wrote on upanishadas etc. in c. 800 A.D. Thus Tamil received double dose of Sanskrit words from north and south. Tamil works of religious import were reinterpreted as Vedantic, and awarded status of Vedas. [Nair B. N., “The Dynamic Brahmin”, p.78]
Non-brahmin dignitaries were coopted
Tamil saint poets attained great fame at a later stage, but though men like Nammalwar were denied the status of Kulapati of Vaishnavas only because he was a non-brahmin, these saints were made use of to further the cause of chaturvana, by declaring them as their own. Nair explains the tendency:
“However, every time a non-Brahmin attained remarkable stature in the assimilation of Brahmanical culture and produced some work of intrinsic merit in his own language for the use of his fellowmen, the Brahmins lost no time in giving the work a Sanskritic interpretation as to disallow it an independent existence of its own and continued esteem in popular mind. It is clearly due to the insecurity in the Brahmin mind that leads them to adopt this strategy as is evident from many modern instances. In fact it is not quite a well-known fact that the orthodox Brahmins had at one time offered to Mahatma Gandhi the choice of the acceptance of Brahminhood which he characteristically refused. The fact that he was finally assassinated by a fanatic Chitpavan Brahmin of Poona is more than significant of the suppressed hostility of those caste-conscious Brahmins all over India who could not share the enlightened views of that great soul.” [Nair B. N., “The Dynamic Brahmin”, p.78]
Brahmanism flourished due to British rule
Nair explains how the British helped spread of Brahmanism throughout India, and exclaims that the Brahmin succeeded in utilising the Britishers as an unconscious tool for the strengthening of his social control over masses by four streams of activity by the British administration which directly contributed to the strength of all-India Hinduism under Brahmin leadership. Dr. M. N. Srinivas classified them as follows.
(a)systematic reconstruction of Indian history
(b)development of mass communication media, films of mythological themes and Brahmanical control over press. To this could now be added electronic media and mythological serials.
(c)growth of movements against defects in Brahmanical religion like untouchability, child marriage etc.
(d)study of Sanskrit literature and philosophy
Nair exclaims that, thus the Brahmin discovered his soul and saw with clear eyes the beauty and ugliness of his own handiwork in India, and the regrouping of social forces that took place under the British regime. [Nair B. N., “The Dynamic Brahmin”, p. 80]
Christians not influenced by the sanskritisation
Concluding, Nair mentions another weakness of Sanskrit: “And this concerns its failure to leave the psychological impress on the Christian community in India. Christianity of the real proselytising variety came to India and drew it strength only during the British occupation so that it must be considered intrinsically as the religion of a cultural and political conqueror. The conversions of Christianity were mostly from people who were outside the pale of Brahmanical Hinduism so that the cultural influences of Sanskrit were not felt by these people to any extent before conversion or after it.” [Nair B. N., “The Dynamic Brahmin”, p.81]
Sanskrit has no relevance with daily life
With rapid Sanskritisation, Nair feels, it lost relevance in daily life of people, specially the non-Brahmins:
“… The ‘weltanschauung’ [i.e. outlook of world] of the South Indian (non-Brahmin) was rendered highly unreal and abstract infusion of Sanskrit words created a disjunction between the symbol and the phenomenon. It was not merely the haphazard spread of Sanskrit or its deliberate and principal use for sacerdotal purposes that brought about this mental situation but also to a large extent the esotericism that was imported in the use of the language, the word-meanings, etc. And above all it was a leisure class (only) that used Sanskrit. As Prof. Kosambi so aptly puts it “The language suffered from its long monopolistic association with a class that had no direct interest in technique, manual operations, trade agreements, contracts or surveys. The class did have leisure enough to write their tenuous ideas in a tortuous manner above the reach of the common herd and to unravel them from such writings. Prose virtually disappeared from high literary Sanskrit. Words that survived in literary usage took on so many supplementary meanings that a good Sanskrit text cannot be interpreted without a commentary. The glosses are often demonstrably wrong and succeed in only confusing the text which has to be restored by critical methods first developed in Europe. The older terms used in administration (e.g. in Arathashastra and Copperplate charters) were forgotten. In some cases, where obscurity was deliberately imposed (i.e. the Tantric mysticism) cult and meaning of the text vanished together. There were astounding mnenomic developments but they too contributed to the same end by over-specialization and particular jargons for every discipline”. (An Introduction to the Study of Indian History pp.225-266) [Nair B. N., “The Dynamic Brahmin”, p.85]
Sanskrit has nothing to do with Computer
Some people, whose forefathers themselves were the sufferers of this language, try to take pride and seek solace in believing that Sanskrit is a good language for computer. The inventor of this myth seems to be a person, not only with perverted sense of egotism about his heritage and ignorance of his ancestral history, but also an urge to befool the gullible masses of India. The minimum expectation from such scholars would be to pause and think how a language which was not allowed to be learned by a scholar like Dr. Ambedkar can ever be considered a good language worth learning by masses. It is language of control by a few over multitude. It is a language of oppression.
It has nothing to do with computer language, which is a binary language, a language of 1s and 0s, a language of ON and OFF. After all a computer is nothing but a collection of millions of fast acting switches. It is by creating computer codes like EBCDIC and ASCII, various alphabets can be assigned numbers, and these numbers representing alphabets are converted into binary for computer processing. Any language on the earth is equally good or equally bad for the computer purpose. Those who claim that Sanskrit is a useful language for computer have got a cruel and malevolent intention of projecting the misdeeds of their forefathers. A scholar in them is dead, only a caste superiority prejudice is seen in their such statements.
Most unfortunate thing is that so called scholars from among the sufferers of tyranny of this language, seem to have a liking of this language through misconceived ideas about it. Their multiple degrees are worth throwing away in a dust bin. Just by becoming learned in Sanskrit does not qualify anybody to receive respect, you have to be born. Read Dasbodh of Ramdas, if you have doubts. The language which ruined this country, is respected by these so called scholars. It was Ramdas himself, a Brahmanical social activist, who coined a phrase for such people in Marathi- “padhat murkh”, the nearest English rendering of it should a learned fool.
What did the propagators of this language give to the people of this country apart from disintegration and slavery of centuries. What kind of society they have produced? A society full of discriminations where more than half of people are unfit even for a touch, another one third driven to forests and another group whose occupation is crime, a society where prostitution is practiced in the name of God and religion, a society where suicide is sacrosanct, a society where uttering obscene abuses is a part of religion, a society where daughters are murdered immediately after birth, a society where widows are burnt on the funeral pyre of their husbands, a society where a vast section of people are deprived from holding any property, holding any arms, getting any education, a society where taking a marriage procession on a public road brings atrocities, murder, rape and arson, a society where nearly the whole country uses the public roads as a toilet. And one expects these very people the sufferers of this extreme exploitation to regard this language as holy and sacrosanct. One only has to remember the words of Theludesus: It may be your interest to be our masters, how can it be ours to be your slaves. Still this is probably the only country in the world where the slaves are enjoying their slavery and prisoners guard the prison gates and display their fetters as ornaments.
There are people who try to propagate that the Sanskrit language is the original language which was gifted by God (to Brahmins of India). Despite all other languages in the world, to consider one particular language as “god given” is the worst form of imprudence and arrogance, to say the least; and is not only derogatory to the inventor of the idea, but also marks the god with partiality to a caste.
Importance of Pali
After obtaining Buddhahood, the Buddha preached orally for the rest of His life of 45 years, and these preachings were learned by heart by the disciples. They were compiled into Tripitakas in various sangitis, the first being 3 months after Mahaparinirvana, second 100 years later, third in the reign of Ashoka, after which Bhikkus were sent to various places. Mahinda and Sanghmitra went to Simhala. All these years, all the preachings were preserved by oral tradition. It was after this that they were reduced in writings, in Simhala during the reign of Vattagamini (29 B.C.). This was fourth sangiti. The Buddha did not insist for any particular language, and everybody learned them in their own language. As a matter of fact, Tripitaka was preserved in many languages. According to one famous Tibetan tradition, the scriptures of Sarvasti-vadis’ are in Sanskrit, those of Mahasanghikas in Prakrit, those of Mahasammaitis in Apbhramsha and those of Sthaviras in Paishachi. Today we know the word Pali as a name of language. It contains whole of Tripitaka and Anupitaka of Thervada. Originally, this word meant Original Teachings of the Buddha or Tripitaka. Later it denoted the language of them. Thus the use of term Pali as a name of language is rather new, and more in vogue since 19th century. The language, we call today Pali is actually known traditionally as Magadhi. It is well known that the Buddha had refused permission to use Sanskrit as the vehicle of teachings, and declared it as a minor crime. [Rahul Sankrutyayana, “pali sahitya ka itihas”, (hindi), 3rd ed., 1992, Uttar Pradesh Hindi Sansthan, Lukhnow, p.5]
Dr. Bhagchandra Jain also mentions that, Pali literature is rendered in writing in Srilanka in First Century B.C., in the reign of Vattagamini. Before that it was prevalent by oral recitation. This is the reason why we find the compilation of many references could not be made in chronological order in Pali literature. Some references are twisted to suit them, some are omitted and some are added. Even then, the available material is historically and culturally important. The valuation from this angle is still not done. [“Chatushatakam” Translator Editor : Dr. Bhagchandra Jain, Alok Parakashan Nagpur 1971 (Hindi), p.4] The study of Aryan languages in the middle age is complete only after scientific study of Pali Language. Pali has affected not only the modern Indian Languages but it has enough contribution in the development of modern languages in countries like Sinhala, Burma, Thailand, China, Japan, Tibet, Magnolia etc. and Pali literature has proved to be a greatest help in fixing the dates of ancient history. [Jain, p.6] L. M. Joshi also describes the influence of Buddhist language and script as follows:
“… Indian paleography and epigraphy owe a great deal to the original and pioneer inspiration of Buddhism and its lithic records. The earliest historical inscriptions of India are the Buddhist inscriptions. The dhammalipi of Ashoka became the mother of all subsequent varieties of Brahmi and its derivative Indian scripts.” [L. M. Joshi, Aspects of Buddhism in Indian History, p.32]
Study of Sanskrit
Rigveda is said to be the most ancient book. Study of language started in west after William Jones translated Shakuntalam into English. In India, modern study of languages started after Ramkrishna Bhandarkar opined through “Wilson philological lectures” that Sanskrit is the original language and all the Indian as well as foreign languages originated from it. [Mishra, p.351] Greek Helenic language also has some similarities with Sanskrit. [“Vangmay Vimarsha” by Pundit Vishwanath Prasad Mishra, Hindi Sahitya Kutir, Varanasi – 1, v.samvat 2023, p.358]
Some relate the Dravidian languages with Australian languages. After Mohonjodaro excavation, now they are being related with Sumerian languages. [Mishra, p.355] Word “mund” is used in Vayu Purana and in Mahabharata it is used for a caste. The word “shabar” is still ancient, which is found in Ateriya Brahman. Their language is called Munda, Kol, or Shabar. There is a great influence of these languages over several Indian languages, various examples are quoted by the author of this influence on Bihari, Gujarathi and Madhyapradesh language. [Mishra, p. 363]
Kumaril Bhatt made only two divisions Dravida and Andhra, But the modern scholars have made following classification of Dravidian languages:
1. Dravida- with (a) Tamil (b) Kannada (c) Tulu (d) Kodagu (e) Tod
2. Andhra- (a) Telugu
3. Central- with (a) Gondi (b) Kurukha (c) Kui (d) Kolami Tamil has two forms. A poetic language called “shen”, the other is called “kodun”, Malayalam is supposed to be elder daughter of Tamil. Influence of Sanskrit is less on Tamil contrarily Malayalam has great influence. [Mishra, p.365]
Languages of Indian Branch
There are two views. The scholars of ancient school believe that original language is Sanskrit, form which all Aryan languages originated, Prakrit from Sanskrit, Apbhransha from Prakrit and regional languages from Apbhransha. New linguistic scholars believe that Vedic Sanskrit itself originated from some original Aryan language. On one side Vedic language, modified or Sanskrit was used and on the other hand, unmodified or Prakrit was being used as a language of common speech. Both these originated from some common root. Sanskrit, the spoken language of elite (shistas – meaning Brahmins), and Prakrit, the spoken language of the masses are sisters of each other. That Prakrit is termed by them as “Aadim Prakrit” meaning original Prakrit. From this evolved all other Prakrit languages. Some people believe that, from original Prakrit the classical Sanskrit, i.e Sanskrit of literature, evolved. But some believe that classical Sanskrit evolved from Vedic Sanskrit through stages of Brahmanas, Upanishadas, Kavyas, and Gathas. The divisions of Indian languages made in “pratisakhyas” are considered by them as regional forms of the original Prakrit – “Oudichya” (Northern), “Pratichya” (western), “Dakshinatya” (southern) “Madhya Deshiya” (bichali) and “Prachya” (eastern). Late Dr. Bhandarkar believed in Evolution of Prakrit from Sanskrit. He thought Classical and Vedic Sanskrit together as the original source of Prakrits. But scholars have discarded this old view and they now believe Original Prakrit as the source. [Pandit Vishanath Prasad Mishra, “Vangamay Vimarsha”, (hindi), published by Hindi Sahitya Kutir, Varanasi – 1, 5th edition, Vikram Samat 2023, p.371]
Prakrit can be divided into three stages if we consider Apbhransha as a late Prakrit. There were three periods in its evolution. They are ancient, middle are late Prakrit. [Mishra, p.376] Why it is called Prakrit? 1. Prakriti means nature, so Prakrit a language of more people. 2. Comparing Sanskrit and Prakrit, Sanskrit is refined and Prakrit is unrefined. 3. Jains have defined Prakrit as the most ancient language. They divide the word into ‘Prak’ and ‘krit’, and they believe all other languages originated from Prakrit (Ardhamagadhi).
Some people term all the languages placed under ancient Prakrit as Pali, but we find there are many ancient Prakrits other than Pali. Edicts of Ashoka, Hinayani Tripitakas, Mahavamsha, Jatakas etc., ancient Jain Sutras, and Prakrits of ancient dramas are grouped under this language. [Mishra, p.377]
The language of Ashoka’s edicts and Hinayana Scriptures has come to be known as Pali. The language of scriptures is considered by Buddhists as “Magadhi”. [Mishra, p.377]
The language of Ashoka’s Edicts differs in different areas. At least two different types can be discerned. As the Buddha was from Magadha, and he preached in people’s language, it should be Magadhi, but after due consideration, it seems that it was not Magadhi but general Prakrit, because later Buddhist scriptures do not show the traits seen in Magadhi Prakrit. [Mishra, p.377] Therefore, His preachings were in “Pacchahi” language from which was originated Shouriseni Prakrit of the middle lands and Maharashtri Prakrit of the whole country. Ashoka also considered it the main language. The language of Jain sutras is considered Ardha Magadhi, which should mean that it has got traits of both Shourseni and Magadhi thus it is clear that the language of middle country was the basis of evolution of Prakrit. [Mishra, p.378]
Middle Prakrit consists of Maharashtri Prakrit, Prakrit used in dramas, Prakrit of later Jain scriptures and Paishyachi i.e language of Brihat Katha.
Maharashtri had more respect among the Prakrits. The Maharashtri name could be because of region like Shourseni or Magadhi but, it should be considered as Maha as vast and Maharashtri means language of the greater part of the country as becomes clear from a verse of Dandin. [Mishra, p.379]
Apbhramsha originated from Prakrit. Grammarians consider two forms of it, “Nagar” and “Brachad”. Sindhi evolved from Brached and Gujarathi, Rajasthani, Braji etc. evolved from Nagar. There are two types according to time. Early and late. Avahatha can be considered a late type. The Apbhramsha more nearer to modern regional languages can be placed in late type of Apbhramsha. [Mishra, p.382]
Modern Regional Languages of India
They originated after Apbhramsha. It can not be said definitely when the poetry in regional languages started. But looking at the late Apbhramsha, it is clear that the words of modern regional languages are seen in them. Therefore, the time of the origin of regional languages must be placed in Tenth or Eleventh centuries of Vikram Era. [Mishra, p.383]
Hindi was the first regional language to originate. Its ancient roots are in Shourseni and also Magadhi or Ardha Magadhi. Name Hindi originated from Hindu. Others do not agree with this. Hindu is a name given by Muslims.
There are four types, Khadiboli, Rekhata, Nagari, and high Hindi. [Mishra, p.389] Urdu evolved from language soldiers spoke in the market, and thus it is basically hindi only. [Mishra, p.391] After Britishers came Hindi got mixed with words from all languages and was called “Hindusthani”. [Mishra, p.393]
Classification of Hindi
1. Western (paschimi) (a) Khadi boli –
(i) Urdu – of three types of Northern (Uttari) – Rekhati; Dehalvi; and Lakhanavi. And one Southern (Dakhani)
(iii)High Hindi (uccha hindi)
(b)Bangaru (c) Central (Madyavarti) with
(i) Braji (ii) Kanauji and (iii) Bundeli
2. Eastern (Purvi) : – (a) Avadhi – with (i) Western (Pashimi) and (ii) Eastern (Purvi) (b) Bagheli (c) Chattisgadhi
Scripts of India
Only two scripts were in vogue at the time of Ashoka, Brahmi and Kharoshti. On the basis of available Brahmi inscriptions, the time of Brahmi script is considered to be from 500 B.C. to 350 A.D. Two styles were visible in Brahmi in 4th century A.D. which are called Northern and Southern. The scripts evolved from Northern are, Gupta, Kutil, Nagari, Sharda and Bangala, and from Southern are Western, Madhya Pradeshi, Telugu Kannad, Grantha, Kalinga and Tamil. [Mishra, p.454]
Script of Gupta kings is termed as “Gupta”, from which evolved in sixth to nineth century, a script called “Kutil”. From tenth century onwards, we find traces of “Nagari” in North India. In South, it was called “Nanda Nagari” and appeared around 8th century. From Nagari evolved the Bangala, Kaithi, Gujarathi, Marathi languages. Sharda of Kashmir evolved from Kutil. From Sharada evolved, Takkari and Gurumukhi. From early Bangala script originated, present Bangala, Maithili and Udiya. [Mishra, p.454] Out of Southern Styles, script found in Kathiyavad, Gujarath, Nashik, Khandesh, Satara etc. is termed Western. That found in Madhya Pradesh, North Hyderabad and Bundelkhand is called Madhya Pradeshi, and Telgu-Kannad script was precursor of present Telgu and Kannad scripts. A different script called “Grantha” was being used to write Sanskrit works, from it evolved Malayalam and Tulu. Kalinga script was in Kalinga. [Mishra, p.455]
About origin of word Nagari, there are different views. One view is it was Urban (meaning Nagari) script. Some connect it with Nagar Brahmins. There are others who consider that, previous to image worship, devas were worshiped in the form of Yantras, the symbols of which were called “Devnagar” giving the name to the script. [Mishra, p.455]
How India got divided into numerous linguistic areas
The picture of diversity of languages and scripts in India – past and present. How India, which, during Buddhist period, had only one main language and one or two main scripts, got divided into various groups with their intrinsic rivalries? This is the main problem, which nobody bothers to refer to. After the fall of Buddhism, Brahmanism not only divided the people into numerous castes with graded inequality and numerous tiny dynasties with rivalries due to sense of high and low, but also divided the whole country into small segments. It taught that each kingdom, though small, is a different country. The result was that the feeling of oneness was never present among the Hindus. There never arose a feeling on one India among them. In scriptures, we find definitions of ‘foreign’ lands at many places. They denote the mischief caused. [Surendra Kumar Adnyat – “hindu dharm ne bachaya ya pitavaya”, Sarita Mukta Reprint vol. 7, p. 24]
Brahspati says that if there is a big river or a big mountain in between, or if the language differs, then the countries on either side should be treated as foreign lands of each other. Some say after 60 yojanas, new country starts, some say 40 and some say 30 yojanas. (One yojana equals 8 miles). Brahaspati mentions another opinion using the word ‘videsh’ in place of ‘deshantara’, that the videsh is that where one can not get messages within one day. [Surendra Kumar Adnyat – “hindu dharm ne bachaya ya pitavaya”, Sarita Mukta Reprint vol. 7, p. 24]
Dharmasindhu defines ‘deshantara’ or ‘videsh’ on the basis of caste. For a brahmin distance of 20 yojanas from his residence, is ‘deshantara’, for ksatriya it is 24 yojanas, for a vaishya it is 30 yojanas and for a sudra it is 60 yojanas. If a big mountain or river comes in way or if there is difference of language, then it is a different country, as said by some people. It only means, in such an event, even though the distance is less than 20, 24, 30 or 60 yojanas, even then it is ‘deshantara’ for brahmins, ksatriyas, vaishyas and sudras respectively. [Surendra Kumar Adnyat – “hindu dharm ne bachaya ya pitavaya”, Sarita Mukta Reprint vol. 7, p. 24]
Thus as per scriptures, at the most 480 miles is the limit of your country, every thing beyond is a foreign land. Even today, we use the word ‘pardeshi’ meaning a foreigner for a resident of a town, some distance away. When the sastras declare all areas except in immediate vicinity are alien lands, how can one expect the rajas and subjects consider other fellow Indians as their own in this vast land.
Kalivarjya was the method of control
That the kalivarj is the method of Brahmins to tackle with the Buddhist influence over the masses and impose their supremacy. They changed their laws without actually condemning them. All laws and rules, were amended including Civil, Criminal, Revenue and personal laws. It is not properly realized by the masses, that King was not the Law maker; he had no legislative powers, contrary to the popular belief. He was only the executive head and had a responsibility to implement the laws made by the Brahmins. At the most he could only legislate on revenue matters, that too, as per the rules already laid down. He had some judicial powers, but that too, he could not pass judgment against the law given by the Brahmins.
Who suffered in Kalivarjya
In Kalivarjya, main law was against sea voyage. That is how the sea worthy races of Pallava and Chola countries suffered. All the trade that was being conducted through the sea stopped. Who suffered? Not the Brahmins, surely. It will be clear, if we take a look at the products of export. Most of the products of export were based on the agriculture, horticulture, animal husbandry and forest economy. Even the textile industry which had reached a high acclaim in foreign lands, was based on cotton, silk and wool. All these occupations were in the hands of working classes, who were all doomed to be shudras. All these industries suffered. All these castes in the village economy suffered. All these occupational groups, which were prosperous during the Buddhist rule, were degraded into castes, due to rigid caste rules imposed.
The mobility of the professions was stopped. Telis, who extracted oil from oil seeds, Malis, who grew the vegetables, the Dhangars, who reared the goats and lambs, Sutars, who made and repaired the farmers’ implements, Kumar, who suppled earthen pots to villagers and Mahars and Mangs who protected the villages from strangers, all were segregated. All these professions became hereditary and social intercourse among them stopped. Not only this caused multiplicity of castes, and regional variations in languages but also a different language for various castes. This ultimately lead to present situation of confusion, distrust and hostility among the people destroying social fabric of country, for which we have only to thank the fall of Buddhism and rise of Brahmanism.