Differences Between Sanskrit And Hindi
Sanskrit is one of the oldest classical languages in the world that was originated, developed and nourished by people living in the eastern side of the river Shindhu, known as Hindus or Indians. Sanskrit has the unique feature of being one of the few heritage languages with no geographical or dynastic tag attached to its name. Meaning of the term Sanskrit envelopes a number of attributes like pure, refined, decorated, educated, respected, beautiful, polished and elegant. The holy books of all the Indic religions like Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Vaishnavism and Sikhism are written in Sanskrit language. Structure and form of all the Indian languages find their roots in Sanskrit. This is not without reason that Sanskrit is considered as the mother of all the Indian languages.
Hindi is one of the widely used languages in India, and has tremendous social and political impact emanating from its wide use by politicians, film makers, dramatist and musicians. Hindi was once a strong medium used by Indian national leaders for spreading the call for independence of India from the British rule. It is the official language of the Union of India. Although Sanskrit is the mother of many Indian languages including Hindi and there are many similarities between Sanskrit and Hindi as regards scripts, words and pronunciation, a number of dissimilarities and differences too do exist between the two. This article attempts to highlight some of the more important differences between the two Indian languages.
According to Hindu mythology, Brahma, referred to as grandfather introduced the language as medium of worship, for composing music for entertainment of God and Goddesses and writing literature in praise of the creator of universe. This is the reason that Sanskrit is called Dev Bhasha (language of God). During the middle of 18th century the world started to take interest in Sanskrit due to the discovery by famous historian Max Muller, of some of the greatest scientific and mathematical formula, experiment, research, analysis and results in the supposedly oldest books in the world like, Veda and Purana written in Sanskrit. Going deep into the form and structure of the language would also make one astonished by the resemblance of the language with other lesser old heritage languages of the world namely Greek and Latin. It is believed that the available written oldest Sanskrit literature dates back to 2000 BC. Two of the greatest epics of the world, Ramayana and Mahabharata were written in Sanskrit. The Hindu rulers of India especially those belonging to Maurya, Sen and Kusha dynasties actively encouraged and patronized the great Sanskrit poets and dramatists for quite a long time. Even the Mughal emperors who ruled India during the last leg of Islamic rule, used to honor Sanskrit scholars as a part of their administrative policy.
Hindi or standard Hindi or high grammar Hindi is the language of people living in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Uttar Khand and other parts in Northern India. The dialect of Hindi also Known as Hindustani language started to be used as language for administrative purposes during 1600 AD in India. During that period Hindi did not have any recognition as separate language and was treated as part of Urdu language. From the first half of 19th century a pro-Hindi movement came-up ending in official recognition of Hindi as a separate language.
Sanskrit has a very complex system of grammar and composition structure comparable only with Greek and Latin and to some extent with German. Correct pronunciation is of supreme importance so long as Sanskrit is concerned, and slightest of deviation is strict no-no in Sanskrit. Hindi, on the other hand, is much easier in its grammar and composition structures with simple words and lesser importance attached to pronunciation.
Impact on Science, Literature, Art & Music
So far as literary work is considered Sanskrit is considered the richest in the world. Three greatest Political, Social and Romantic epics namely, Mahabharata, Ramayana and Abhigyan Shakuntalam are written in Sanskrit. Some of the Sanskrit Slokas give tremendous importance on musical notes attached to them which create an ambience of highest level of devotion and proven to be having psychological therapeutic values. Some of the great ancient research works on Finance, Economics, Political-science, Sociology, Ethics and Human love & Sexuality were done in Sanskrit and considered to be highly relevant even today. Kautilya’s Artha Shastra (collection of Economic theories), Chanakya’s Rashtra Niti (Political theories) Ramanujam’s Ganita Shastra (theory and explanation of Geometry and Arithmetic) and Batsayan’s Kama Shastra (Synthesis of art and sexuality) are some of the piece of works written in Sanskrit revered till today by world scholars in their respective fields. But no Hindi novel has so far been able to stand up to be even compared with any of the Sanskrit novels and dramas written more than 1500 years from now.
The period between 17th and 20th century is known as golden period for Hindustani music. Most of the highly revered classical songs were composed in Hindi with relevant variations among the Hindi siblings like Maithili, Bhojpuri etc. Tansen, the great classical singer in the court of the Mughal emperor Akbar used to speak and sing in Hindi.
Political & Social Importance
Historical evidences show that Sanskrit in its pure and original form was used by royal families, Acharya Brahmins, priests, pundits (educated) and rich traders. Sanskrit in the form as used by the above mentioned people was not meant for use of common people. They used lesser pure version of Sanskrit known as Pali. During the onslaught of Muslim invaders, Hindu reformists and saints effectively used Sanskrit to counter the invasion of Islamic culture and language. Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Shankaracharya and Swami Vivekananda the famous Hindu Saints effectively used Sanskrit to spread the message of Hinduism across the world. During Indian independence movement, many revolutionary leaders of India took help of Sanskrit to infuse Hindu pride to ignite patriotism among the youth of India. It is no irony that the national song and the national anthem of India are written in Sanskrit.
Hindi has different kind of political and social relevance in India. After the baton of pro-independence leadership changed hand from collective leadership of Congress to Mahatma Gandhi, Hindi became a political weapon which Gandhi prudently used to spearhead the movement among the rural masses of India, and Hindi found its new anti English status among the people of Indian villages. Even Subhash Chandra Bose, more secular than Gandhi and ardent believer of armed struggle took resort to Hindi poems and songs, especially composed to suit his views, to garner support of the Indian youth to build-up his own army to fight the powerful British army. In contemporary Indian politics Hindi is used by all the major political parties to boast patriotism and paint pro-people images for themselves before elections.
Number of Speakers
Sanskrit has lost practical importance with passage of time, and according to 2010 census only about 50000 people in India use Sanskrit as their day-to-day living language. On the contrary, Hindi is spoken, according to the same census, by roughly 250 million people in India and another 8 – 10 million people in Pakistan. The reasons of such reverse directional movement are multiple. Firstly Sanskrit has from its inception been the language of the elite and the mass was barred using the language and enjoying its beauty. Secondly, Sanskrit is one of the few languages with very complex grammar and pronunciation system. There are quite a good number of words in Sanskrit vocabulary each consisting of 25 to 30 vowels and consonants forming combination between them. The language is highly identified with worshipping God (Paramatma) adhering Hindu religious strictures. The Slokas (Hindu hymns) are very difficult and need to be practiced to be correctly pronounced creating desired spiritual and psychological effects. Even dramas like Shakuntala based on Kalidas’s Abhigyan Shakuntalam, one of the gems of world’s priced novels based on romanticism and erotica ran in Indian theatre halls with the chairs as only spectator-audiences. Thirdly, with growth of more and more distorted versions of Sanskrit and Pali and influence of regional dialects especially in the eastern, north-eastern and southern part of India, the language lost any literary significance in today’s social life of the people.
On the other hand, Hindi is comparatively much easier language than Sanskrit to speak, write and read. Politically it has much more mass appeal than Sanskrit has. For a long time in the history of democratic India political power at the central governance level is concentrated among the political parties originated and nourished in the Hindi-speaking belt of India. This has always added weight to the language. Bollywood, one of the richest so called film and music industry of the world, entirely depends on Hindi language for its survival and growth.
Sanskrit has a mythological back-ground and is believed to have been developed long before other classical languages of the world came in. On the other hand Hindi is much younger than Sanskrit and came to be recognized only in the 18th century.
Sanskrit has more complex grammar and composition structure in comparison to Hindi.
Sanskrit has much greater presence in the field of science and arts than Hindi has.
Sanskrit had tremendous political and social significance in the past. In today’s scenario Hindi carries much more political and social weight than Sanskrit does.
Sanskrit speakers have dwindled in number, while the reverse has happened for Hindi.
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