Chennai : Former judge of the Supreme Court and the current chairman of the Press Council of India Markandey Katju said on Thursday that Sankrit never tried to dominate regional languages such as Tamil and it was a predominantly ‘atheistic’ one that promoted free thinking, PTI reports.
“People have a misunderstanding that it is the language of the Hindus, the chanting of mantras and so on. That is only five per cent of Sanskrit language… 95 per cent of Sanskrit literature has nothing to do with religion,” he said.
The remarks during his inaugural address at the 17th Y’s Men’s International Convention came against the backdrop of regional parties, including ruling AIADMK, opposing the Centre’s proposal to celebrate Sanskrit week in CBSE schools.
He said Sanskrit dealt with subjects such as science and that it was an ‘anti-religious’ language, “a language of free thinkers who thought on a wide spectrum of subjects.”
He said Sanskrit promoted science and technology even as it had undergone changes with the passage of time.
Since science required things to be expressed precisely, Sanskrit was useful as grammarian Panini had set its rules making the language useful for this purpose.
For instance, Indians had come up with numeric terms in Sanskrit for ‘astronomical’ values even as many of their contemporaries, including Romans, in the early days were not finding it easy in this regard.
Dwelling on the ‘tremendous diversity’ in the country, he said secularism and tolerance alone would help India remain united.
He claimed about 90 per cent of the population including Dravidians were ‘immigrants’ while native tribes like Todas and Santhals were the original inhabitors who ‘were pushed into the jungles by our ancestors.”