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संस्कृतस्य व्यावहारिकस्वरूपम्
Sanskritasya Vyavaharikaswaroopam

Functional Sanskrit: Its Communicative Aspect

— Dr Narendra

Price: Rs 280

Soft Cover
Pages: 335
Dimensions (in cms): 17x25
Publisher: Sanskrit Karyalaya, Pondicherry
ISBN: 978-81-7058-448-3

About Sanskritasya Vyavaharikaswaroopam

This comprehensive and highly acclaimed book written in simple Sanskrit represents the culmination of the research work of the Sanskrit Karyalaya in making the language easy to learn and speak.
Sanskrit is considered difficult to learn primarily because one has to memorise numerous conjugations and declensions and the rules of gender and "sandhi". A considerable part of this book shows how these difficulties can be systematically removed by using a novel method. Use of English at the appropriate places makes this unique book easily approachable by all.
This doctoral thesis of the author firmly establishes that Sanskrit can be both simple and fully communicative. He has evolved and presented some remarkable new techniques and methods which will unquestionably facilitate rapid learning. Both students and teachers of Sanskrit will find this book equally useful.


      The present book, originally submitted as a thesis for a doctorate degree in Sanskrit, is truly a labour of love, for the young author is dedicated to popularising Sanskrit, as a spoken language. If his unceasing and multiple effort has earned him a degree, it is incidental to his chief mission.

      The very title makes it clear that the subject of the book is functional Sanskrit in its communicative aspect, and this becomes the guiding principle of its structure, style and substance.

      The introductory and concluding chapters of the book make out a convincing case to show the relevance of Sanskrit by marshalling together arguments and opinions from varied sources. Then, the very first chapter presents a comparative study of Sanskrit with English, French, Tamil and Hindi and gives a glossary of words common to all eleven major Indian languages. This aims at indicating close affinity of Sanskrit with other Indian languages. The second chapter includes stories, songs, playlets, etc. in simple Sanskrit. This is followed by eleven graded lessons and glossary of words required to carry on communication in daily life.

      The next four chapters successfully evolve a novel method to eliminate, as far as possible, the difficulties generally associated with learning Sanskrit – the rules of gender and sandhi and the need to memorise numerous conjugations and declensions. This is a major achievement of the author. Dr. K.C. Dash, Head of the Department of Nyaya at Sri Jagannath Sanskrit Vishwavidyalaya in Puri is impressed enough to remark, "The author has evolved and presented some new techniques and methods to facilitate rapid learning. I hope this work of Dr. Narendra will receive the attention of learners and learned critics for its pragmatic features, new methodology and freshness of ideas."

      The publication of the book is quite timely. India today is facing a twofold danger: on the one hand, in trying to achieve economic progress by importing wholesale western technology and concept of life, India of the ages is in grave danger of losing its identity and degenerating into a second-rate copy of a European nation. In fact, the history of post-Independence India is a sad story of our drifting away from the cultural roots that have sustained us as a distinct civilisation, while other ancient cultures have become half-forgotten memories of the past, through the long millennia of our chequered history. Sanskrit has been the sap of our cultural life, and revival of Sanskrit as an expression of our national identity will mean an important step in the revival of our glorious past as a foundation to build up a more glorious future.

      On the other hand, there is a danger arising from the present vote-bank politics masquerading under many idealistic guises, but inevitably leading to one consequence: dividing our society on every possible basis – caste, creed, language, religion and what not – till we will be reduced to numerous factions incessantly fighting among ourselves. The importance of Sanskrit in this context can hardly be emphasised enough. As a veteran journalist, Saeed Naqvi says, "If we adopt Sanskrit as our national language we will have bound this nation together into a cultural and economic force the world has not seen before. The regions will thrive. The debilitating competition between Hindi and Urdu, at the heart of communalism, will have been terminated."

      Dr. Narendra has rendered an important contribution in the above context. Whether his effort remains a cry in the wilderness or becomes a pioneering step expanding into a nation-wide awakening capable of a revolutionary movement, is a question which only the future can answer.

— Usha Desai
The reviewer is a teacher at the Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education, Pondicherry

July/December 1996