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In Orissa, a village of Sanskrit pundits

April 06, 2010 11:37 IST

Sanskrit may have ceased to be spoken by people, but there is a remote village in this coastal district of Orissa where every home has a pundit of the ancient language.

Sasana village in the Shyamsundar gram panchayat area is almost an anachronism in today's culture which no longer takes pride in mastering the language which, along with Latin, was once the two most dominant languages in the world.

The village, inhabited almost fully by Brahmins, has a little over 32 households with 200-odd members. In all the households one will come across Sanskrit pundits employed in government-run Sanskrit-medium educational institutions.

"We are proud patrons of Sanskrit. The ancient language is very much alive at the village, 76-year-old Baishnav Charan Pati, a Sanskrit pundit who has retired from his teaching job, said.

Pati said that they made sure for generations that at least one child in every household had been taught in the Sanskrit medium of education.

"Most of the Sanskrit-educated residents have found employment either in government schools or have taken up career as priests to preside over Hindu ceremonies,'' Pati said.

Take the case of Pundit Trilochan Sadangi. Both his sons and daughter are Sanskrit-educated and are teaching the language in government-run schools.

"By encouraging our children to learn Sanskrit, we are trying to revive the language. We are largely successful till now and we earnestly hope that our future generations will keep the tradition alive,'' Pati said with a tinge of pride.

The village's fascination for Sanskrit has not come from the blue, but rather flowed from its rich tradition in Sanskrit learning.

A nearby village Babkarpur has the presence of a miniature temple dedicated to the great poet Kalidasa, author of 'Abhigyana Shakuntalam' and many other classics, which tells eloquently of the region's love for the things Sanskrit.

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