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Saturday, 3 May 2008

DISAPPEARANCE OF 'PARAS.VARNA' IN THE INDIAN LANGUAGES: IS IT GOOD OR BAD FOR INDIAN LANGUAGES?' - By DR S M Tadkodkar

It is claimed that 25 languages are being annihilated every year for obvious reasons. (Could the UNESCO Report be an authentic one?) Indian languages have become victims of an onslaught invasion of English (language) since the day they have come in its contact.

They have already lost their own grandeur, luster and are presently on the verge of losing their identity.

All are requested to make an attempt of having an entourage into any dictionary of Indian words of a particular language. Indeed everyone will explore flora and fauna of Indian lingua franca. Indian languages have bloomed in the company of their mother, viz. Sanskrit. Sanskrit has its own Art (and Science) of Poetics. It has its own Science of Rhetoric i.e. Alankaar Shastra.

Sanskrit is being patronized at university level, outside India. While the learning-teaching process in Sanskrit has come to a screeching halt in almost all the institutions in India, the Indian languages have lost the reservoir of Alankàr Shàstra. They have, clandestinely, been adopting the Western Poetics. The new generation wonders about, whether they have any roots in the Indian soil.

Presently, Indian languages have been boasting about having their own grammar. Indeed, they have their own grammar. But, how much is their own grammar and how much has been borrowed from English?

Why has English been taking toll from the Indian languages? This is not only the pertinent question to be asked.

Instead, "Why are you surrendering, unconditionally, to the global icon in the ocean of languages?" is the question that should be raised first.

India has been taking pride of shutting schools in their vernacular languages. Why? Simply because,

"We have to compete with the West?" is the stern reply.

If asked, "How many of the countries in the West have shut down schools being run in their own native languages to gain an edge over English? If they have not shut down their schools in their own languages, then, how are they going to survive?"

No one has any answer to these questions.

Contents

I. Learning-teaching process in Sanskrit
II. The rule of 'Paras.warNa'
III. 'ऋ' to pronounce cerebral 'ru' (मूर्धन्य)
IV. The Roman script is surging


I. Learning-teaching process in Sanskrit:

Basically, Indian languages have the following consonants (वर्ण) in the alphabetical order:

'क्' वर्ग : क्, ख्, ग्, घ्, ङ्
'च्' वर्ग : च्, छ्, ज्, झ्, ञ्
'त्' वर्ग : त्, थ्, द्, ध्, न्
'ट्' वर्ग : ट्, ठ्, ड्, ढ्, ण्
'प्' वर्ग : प्, फ्, ब्, भ्, म्

य्, र्, ल्, व्, श्, स्, ह्, ळ्, क्ष्, ज्ञ्

II. The rule of 'Paras.warNa':

Indian languages have a perfect arrangement for their nasal sounds.

As per the orthography, the nasal sounds follow the rule of 'Paras.warNa' (परस-वर्ण) except in case of the following consonants:

य्, र्, ल्, व्, श्, स्, ह्, ळ्, क्ष्, ज्ञ्

'क्'-वर्ग वर्ण (consonants) follow the nasal sounds inculcating guttural (कण्ठ्य) - 'ङ्' e. g.

'कंकण' > 'कङ्कण', 'कोंकणी' > 'कोंकणी', 'ब्यांक,' > 'ब्याङ्क', 'शृंखला' > 'शृङ्खला', 'मंगल'>'मङ्गल', 'जांघ'>जाङ्घ';

'च्' वर्ग वर्ण follow the nasal sounds inculcating palatal (तालव्य) - 'ञ्' e. g.

'चंचला'>'चञ्चला', 'कंचन'>'कञ्चन', 'लांछन'>'लाञ्छन', 'रंजन'>'रञ्जन, 'झंझा'>'झञ्झा';

'त्' वर्ग वर्ण follow the nasal sounds inculcating dental (दन्त्य) - 'न्' e. g.

'तंत्र' > 'तन्त्र', 'मंथरा' > 'मन्थरा', 'आनंद' > 'आनन्द', 'अंधार' > 'अन्धार';

'ट्' वर्ग consonant follow the nasal sounds inculcating cerebral (मूर्धन्य) - 'ण्' e. g.

'घंटा'>'घण्टा', 'थंड'>'थण्ड', 'षंढ'>'षण्ढ', 'पंढरपूर'>'पण्ढरपूर';

(please note that 'ऋ' (short vowel), 'ऋ' (long vowel), 'र्' and 'ष्' may also be included under the cerebral (मूर्धन्य) category)

'प्' वर्ग वर्ण follow the nasal sounds inculcating labial (औष्ठ्य) 'म्' e. g.

'परंपरा'>'परम्परा', 'फांपर'>फाम्पर', 'गुंफा'>'गुम्फा', 'अंबा'>'अम्बा', 'दंभ'>'दम्भ';

In view of the above

1.'अन्जीर'= 'a fig' should have been written as 'अञ्जीर'

2.'आन्ट'='an intestine' should have been written as 'आन्त' or 'आंत'

3.बाळंतेर can also be written as बाळन्तेर

1.'आम्ब्शे'=sour 'आम्ब्शे' is more appropriate word formation than -

2.'आम्शे'= sour

III. 'ऋ' to pronounce cerebral 'ru' (मूर्धन्य):

We write 'रुख' ('Rukh') for 'a tree' (Sanskrit meaning 'Vruksha') because generally people residing in the Western Indian belt (especially Goa and Maharashtra) write 'ऋ' to pronounce cerebral 'ru' (मूर्धन्य). The logically convincing answer behind this acceptance is very simple:

Grammarians of Indian languages have included pronunciation of the cerebral 'ru' (मूर्धन्य) in the category of the vowels of 'उ' and 'ऊ' and not in the category of vowels of 'अ' or 'इ'. Therefore the word to pronounce as 'Sanskrit' is incorrect. Indeed, it should have been pronounced as 'Sanskrut'.

Today, most of the 'progressive' people have forgotten about the rule of paras.warNa (परसवर्ण).

It was because of hegemony of the Hindi, the English language adopted the pronunciations from the former during its colonial rule. In course of time, it compelled clandestinely all the Indian languages to follow a universal rule, which was acceptable to both Hindi and English. In the bargain the pronunciation of 'ऋ' in the Indian languages has become 'ri'.

e. g. 'अम्रित= nectar of immortality

This immortality has been snatched away from the Indianness. The structure of Indian languages has been in doldrums, historical pride of having identity and integrity has been dwindling.

IV. The Roman script is surging:

In the beginning, English (and Portuguese culture) drove Indians out of the Sanskrit umbrella. Presently, it is pushing Indians away from their own Indian languages, in the name of economic development under the carpet of English languages. The fierce competition between the Urdu (along with Arabian, Persian) and English languages to rule the fabric of secular element among the Indian languages has become more prime ambition than anything else…

… and that is the reason the Roman script is surging …

Archbishop D. Francisco da Assunçao disallowed 'Crista Puranna' (written by Father Thomas Stephens,a British Jesuit priest, published in 1616, comprising more than 11,000 strophes) a classic in Marathi that saw immeasurable popularity (printed six editions), for reading in temples of Jesus Christ, in 1776. Such ban was the beginning of the end of writing in vernaculars. While the British, during their colonial regime, were encouraging vernaculars in India, Portuguese were out to give a clean shave to Indian languages. It was 1684, the year, that saw sadly the extermination of vernaculars. The Viceroy Francis de Tavera, Count of Alvor on the June 27, 1684 published a decree of Law that screamed:

"In order to put an end to all conveniences, it would be suitable to set aside the use of vernacular idiom and insist that all apply themselves to speak Portuguese since the use of both the languages at one and same time gives us cause to various conveniences; including that being not understood…I assign three years, period within which the Portuguese languages is ought to be studied and spoken. Moreover, this language alone should be used in their parts in their dealings and other contracts, which they may wish to enter into, those using the vernacular being severely punished for not obeying this mandate." (Anant Kakaba Priolkar,The Printing Press in India, Bombay, 1958)

While Dr. Joaquim Heliodoro da Cunha Rivara, who was an ardent lover of Konkani language, publishing an essay on Konkani in 1858 had appealed to its speakers to revive their lingua franca. But, the policies, those are being adopted (and being admitted) today in the 21st century are not that different to those, which were followed in the 17th century by the foreigners.

A question that remains unanswered is – Is it good or bad for Indian languages?

-----------------------------
© Dr S M Tadkodkar
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2 comments:

Magdalene said...

Good for people to know.

Venantius said...

I appreciate this article a lot, and hope that if and when time permits—Dr. Tadkodkar may post some further examples. I also miss seeing the form of the ऋ character. Needless to say, but from a calligraphic angle it would allow a designer/calligrapher more interesting forms to work with and lend ones visual personality to/ express via such forms/shaping of characters, including complex conjunct consonants.

Thank you Dr S M Tadkodkar.
Thank you Save my Language Team.

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