New Delhi: Sanskrit would have survived had it become language of commoners, Union minister Najma Heptulla noted here on Tuesday while asking people to shun their "colonised" mindset to conserve the country's oldest language.
"Sanskrit would have survived had it been the language of commoners and not only elites. Colonisation here (in India) also contributed (to the present condition of Sanskrit). We became colonised in our minds. We need to throw colonisation out of our mind," she said.
The Minority Affairs Minister made the remarks during launch of author Rajiv Malhotra's book 'The Battle for Sanskrit,' at Delhi University. Heptulla rued that Sanskrit, despite being oldest Indian language, was not taken care of in the country, while other nations "distorted" it.
She said presently only around 40,000 persons speak Sanskrit in the country.
The minister recalled that country's first Education Minister Maulana Azad had got Mahabharat and Ramayan translated from Sanskrit to Arabic and Persian to make Indian knowledge known internationally.
"Had the tradition set in by Azad continued, this would not be the condition of Sanskrit," she said, adding the NDA government will take efforts to conserve Sanskrit. The event was also attended by former philosophy department head of Delhi University professor Ashok Vohra, head of the varsity's Sanskrit department Ramesh Bharadwaj, Belgian Orientalist and Indologist Koenraad Elst and retired Kannada professor TS Satyanath.