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Sanskrit is an ancient and classical language of India in which ever first book of the world Rigveda was compiled. The Vedas are dated by different scholars from 6500 B.C. to 1500 B.C. Sanskrit language must have evolved to its expressive capability prior to that. It is presumed that the language used in Vedas was prevalent in the form of different dialects. It was to some extent different from the present Sanskrit. It is termed as Vedic Sanskrit.

Each Veda had its book of grammar known as Pratishakhya. The Pratishakhyas explained the forms of the words and other grammatical points. Later, so many schools of grammar developed. During this period a vast literature -Vedas, Brahmana-Granthas, Aranyakas, Upanishads and Vedangas had come to existence which could be termed as Vedic Literature being written in Vedic Sanskrit.

Panini (500 B.C.) was a great landmark in the development of Sanskrit language. He, concising about ten grammar schools prevalent during his time, wrote the master book of grammar named Ashtadhyayi which served as beacon for the later period. Literary Sanskrit and spoken Sanskrit both followed Panini’s system of language. Today the correctness of Sanskrit language is tested upon the touchstone of Panini’s Ashtadhyayee.

Sanskrit is said to belong to Indo – Aryan or Indo Germanic family of languages which includes Greek, Latin and other alike languages. William Jones, who was already familiar with Greek and Latin, when came in contact with Sanskrit, remarked that Sanskrit is more perfect than Greek, more copious than Latin and more refined than either. He said – “Sanskrit is a wonderful language”. It is noteworthy that though ancient and classical, Sanskrit is still used as medium of expression by scholars throughout India and somewhere in other parts of the world e.g. America, and Germany. Sanskrit is included in the list of modern Indian Languages in the eighth schedule of the constitution of India.

As per the Indian tradition Sanskrit Language has no beginning and no ending. It is eternal. Self-born God has created it. It is divine. It is everlasting. It was first used in Vedas and thereafter it has been the means of expression in other fields.

Sanskrit has been the source of later languages and literature in India. Pali and Prakrit were first to develop from Sanskrit. Pali was taken as means for exposition of Buddhistic ideas and Prakrit was used for the spread of Jain doctrines. Most of the Buddhistic literature is written in Pali and that of Jain cult in Prakrit. A vast amount of Buddhistic and Jain literature was also written in Sanskrit simultaneously.

Prakrit language had different shades in different parts of India. So they were named as Paishachi, Shourseni, Magadhi, Ardha – magadhi and Maharashtri. These Prakrits were used for writing ornate poetry like Gaha Saptashati and Karpur Manjari and also in Sanskrit drama as dialogues of ladies and illiterate characters. From each type of Prakrit various Apabhramsha languages developed bearing the same name as Paishachi Apabhramsha, Shaurseni Apabhramsha and so on. Modern Indian Languages are developed from these Apabhramsha languages.

Hindi, the official language of India, is developed from Shauraseni Apabhransha. It is said that all the modern Indian languages used in north part of India are evolved from Sanskrit and the other Modern Indian Langauges of South India- Tamil, Malayalam, Kannada and Telugu are evolved from the Dravidian family of languages. The South Indian MILs are well enriched and nourished by Sanskrit language.

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