A yen for Sanskritised Hindi

The Union Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry may have backed off on Sanskrit Week celebrations in all CBSE schools last August after Tamil Nadu’s objections, but the official push for a Sanskritised Hindi is becoming increasingly evident in the manner in which some schemes are being named.

‘Ishan Vikas’, ‘Ishan Uday’, ‘SWAYAM’, ‘SAMVAY’, ‘Saksham’, ‘GIAN’ and ‘Udaan’ are the new words in the Ministry’s lexicon where several schemes have been tweaked and repackaged with new names.

While ‘Ishan Vikas’ and ‘Saksham’ are the names given to schemes, Study Webs of Active-learning for Young Aspiring Minds is SWAYAM and Skills Assessment Matrix for Vocational Advancement of Youth is SAMVAY. SWAYAM is, in effect, what is internationally known as MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses).

‘Driven by Sangh ideology’

The Ministry is not alone in the use of Sanskritised Hindi preferred by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, as opposed to the Hindustani used with great effect by the former Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

The National Tribal Festival that will open New Delhi on Friday is ‘Vanaj’, the Integrated Ganga Conservation Mission is ‘Namami Gange Mission’, and a stakeholders’ meeting on the Ganga organised by the Ministry of Water Resource, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation is ‘Ganga Manthan.’

While seeing a pattern, political scientist P.K. Datta said the use of Sanskritised Hindi had been going on even under the Congress-led UPA government, but it is getting accelerated under the Modi government.

Under the Congress, this happened because of the domination of language purists on language policy boards, but under the BJP, it is driven by the Sangh ideology of “Hindi, Hindu, Hindustan.”

“This was bound to happen since the RSS regards Sanskrit as an important cultural tool to Hinduise India. There is an idea of purity that is being advanced here — the idea that Sanskrit is the linguistic heart of India and homogenises the whole of India. It, in fact, distances Hindi from itself, from its roots in the culture of the bhashas and by extension linkages to other vernaculars. The attempt is to make Sanskritised Hindi the norm. It is a creeping process, like osmosis,” Professor Datta said.

According to Hindi poet and former bureaucrat Ashok Vajpeyi, official Hindi is the worst thing that can ever happen to Hindi.

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Printable version | Oct 23, 2021 8:03:33 PM |

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