In India, the most holy language, Sanskrit is spoken by less than 1% of the population. Those who are most often found speaking it are Hindu priests during religious ceremonies.
Sanskrit is the mother of many other Indian languages. Many who have chosen to speak it, especially with the high intensity it has currently over government, have found other Indian related languages far more easy to learn or understand because of the similar grammatical structures.
Despite this, the language is still endangered. This very reason may be why the Indian government is currently fighting to replace German with Sanskrit in central schools.
But to learn Sanskrit, may mean a dead-end job or one that hosts only a meager salary unlike some of the other widely spoken languages: German, French or English — to name a few, that would help with jobs in the new globalized society.
But should the dislike of a meager income be the end to an ancient language?
Not everyone thinks so. In the village of Mattur, near the city of Shivamogga in Karnataka India, Sanskrit is spoken in day-to-day life. Starting in the 1980’s, priest of Pejawar Mutt (a local religious center) disliked the high usage of the language Kannada and went to preserving the Sanskrit language. According to professor MB Srinidhi, a resident of Mattur, the priest of Pejawar Mutt made a call in the Mutter village, and within two hours daily for ten days the entire entire village of Mattur spoke Sanskrit, not Kannada.
Even in the village of Mattur, the idea of a globalized society has not escaped them. Students attending the local Sri Sharada Vilasa school study Sanskrit as their first language, English as their second and then either Kannada or Tamil as a third regional language.
With this mindset, it gives the students ample opportunity to integrate themselves both in the world locally and internationally.
“It’s our mother language, the root of all our languages,” Usha Ram, the principle at Dehi’s Laxman Public, told BBC. “All over the world people try to preserve their traditions. Why not India?”