Sanskrit revival

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Sanskrit revival is the accumulation of attempts at reviving the Sanskrit language that have been undertaken. This revival is happening not only in India but also in Western countries like Australia,[1] Germany, the United Kingdom,[2] the United States and in many European countries.[3]

Sanskrit is one of the 22 official languages in India.[4] In 2010, Uttarakhand became the first state in India to have Sanskrit as its second official language.[1] In 2019, Himachal Pradesh became the second state to have Sanskrit as the second official language.[5] There are 2,360,821 total speakers of Sanskrit in India, as of 2011.[6]


In 1891 there was organized activity among the Theosophists in India promoting and participating in the revival of Sanskrit.[7] In 1894 the American Asiatic and Sanskrit Revival Society was established.[8]

In the Republic of India Sanskrit is included in the 14 original languages of the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution. Many organizations, like the Samskrta Bharati, are conducting Speak Sanskrit workshops to popularize the language. The "All-India Sanskrit Festival" (since 2002) holds composition contests. The 1991 Indian census reported 49,736 fluent speakers of Sanskrit.[9]

The state of Uttarakhand has become the first state in India to declare Sanskrit as an official language. The Central Board of Secondary Education in India has made Sanskrit a third language in the schools it governs (though it is an option for a school to adopt it or not, the other choice being the state's own official language). In such schools, learning Sanskrit is an option for grades 5 to 8 (Classes V to VIII). This is true of most schools, including but not limited to Christian missionary schools, affiliated to the ICSE board too, especially in those states where the official language is Hindi. An option between Sanskrit and a local language as a second language exists for grades 9 and 10.[citation needed]

All India Radio transmits news bulletins in Sanskrit twice a day across the nation. Besides, Sanskrit learning programmes also feature on the list of most of the AIR broadcasting centres.[citation needed]

Number of Sanskrit Speakers in India[edit]

According to the 2001 census of India, 14,135 people who had said Sanskrit was their mother tongue. It increased to 24,821 people in the 2011 census of India. Sanskrit has experienced a recorded a growth of over 70 per cent in one decade. However, speakers with Sanskrit as their mother tongue account for just 0.002 per cent of India's total population.[10][11] This number rises significantly to 2,360,821 for total speakers (second and third languages) of Sanskrit, accounting for 0.19% of the Indian population.

According to the 2011 census of Nepal, there are 1,699 Sanskrit speakers in Nepal.[12][circular reference]

Sanskrit villages[edit]

The villages in India where Sanskrit is largely spoken are:[13][14][15]

  • Mattur, Karnataka
  • Jhiri, Madhya Pradesh
  • Hosahalli, Karnataka
  • Sasana, Odisha
  • Baghuwar, Madhya Pradesh
  • Ganoda, Rajasthan
  • Mohad, Madhya Pradesh

Mattur village[edit]

The Mattur village in central Karnataka, Shimoga district claims to have native speakers of Sanskrit among its population. Historically the village was given by king Krishnadevaraya of the Vijayanagara Empire to Vedic scholars and their families. People in his kingdom spoke Kannada and Telugu.[16]

Sanskrit revival movements[edit]

Sanskrit literature movement[edit]

There is Sanskrit literature movement to revive Sanskrit.[17] The Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) has started giving "World Sanskrit Award" to eminent Sanskrit scholars to recognise their outstanding contribution to the study, teaching, research in Sanskrit language and literature. Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn of Thailand was conferred the first ‘World Sanskrit Award’ in 2016.[18] In 2017, Robert Goldman was awarded the World Sanskrit Award.[19]

There are also many Sanskrit writers who won Sahitya Akademi Award winners.

Global organisations[edit]

Samskrita Bharati is an organization working for Sanskrit revival. It is a tax exempt nonprofit organization with its headquarters in New Delhi, India. The International Centre, “Aksharam,” a complex located in Bangalore, India, is its international centre. It houses a research wing, a library, audio-visual lab, and staff quarters. It also has several state-units spread across the country both in the US and India. The US chapter is a registered nonprofit tax-exempt organization with its headquarters in San Jose, California. Samskrita Bharati functions as an umbrella organization for various organizations working for promotion of Samskrita. Being the liturgical language of Hindus, it is used during worship in Hindu temples in the West. It is taught in many South Asian studies/linguistics departments in universities across the West. Also, Sanskrit revival attempts are underway amongst expatriate Hindu populations in the west.[20] It is also popular amongst the many practitioners of yoga in the West, who find the language useful in understanding the Yoga Sutra[citation needed].

Modern Sanskrit universities in India[edit]

In the last few years sporadic efforts have been made to form Sanskrit universities for Sanskrit studies and vyakarana in India. The Sanskrit Universities Bill is aimed at converting Sanskrit deemed to be universities to central universities.[21] The partial list of such universities is given below in chronological order:





Name Location State Specialization
1 1791 Sampurnanand Sanskrit University Varnasi Uttar Pradesh
2 1824 The Sanskrit College and University Kolkata West Bengal
3 1961 Kameshwar Singh Darbhanga Sanskrit University Darbhanga Bihar
4 1962 Rashtriya Sanskrit Vidyapeetha Tirupati Andhra Pradesh
5 1962 Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri Rashtriya Sanskrit Vidyapeetha New Delhi Central Govt
6 1970 Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan New Delhi Central Govt Multi Campus
7 1981 Shri Jagannath Sanskrit Vishvavidayalaya Puri Odisha
8 1993 Sree Sankaracharya University of Sanskrit Kalady Kerala
9 1997 Kavikulaguru Kalidas Sanskrit University Ramtek, (Nagpur) Maharashtra
10 2001 Jagadguru Ramanandacharya Rajasthan Sanskrit University Jaipur Rajasthan
11 2005 Shree Somnath Sanskrit University Somnath-Veraval,


12 2005 Sri Venkateswara Vedic University Tirupati,


Andhra Pradesh
13 2008 Maharishi Panini Sanskrit Evam Vedic Vishwavidyalaya Ujjain Madhya Pradesh
14 2018 Maharishi Balmiki Sanskrit University Kaithal Haryana

Sanskrit revival by states of India[edit]

Andhra Pradesh[edit]

Andhra Pradesh has several dozens Sanskrit institutes, including the Rashtriya Sanskrit Vidyapeetha and Rashtriya Sanskrit Vidyapeetha (deemed university) at Tirupati.[22]

Assam and Northeast India[edit]

Assam and Northeast India, where Sanskrit has reached by the late vedic period, has Kamarupa Anusandhan Samiti which was established in 2012 to research Sanskrit, Ananda Ram Baruah institute of languages publishes Sanskrit manuscripts, and Assam Sanskrit Board is responsible for researching and preserving Sanskrit documents and manuscripts.[22]


Bihar has at several dozen Sanskrit institutes, including Kameshwar Singh Darbhanga Sanskrit University.[23]


Delhi has at Delhi University, Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan and Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri Rashtriya Sanskrit Vidyapeetha (deemed university) undertaking research and teaching in Sanskrit.[24]


Gujarat has Shree Somnath Sanskrit University and 50 Sanskrit pathsaalas, of which 38 are officially recognised by the government.[25]


Haryana state has over 24 Sanskrit colleges offering education equivalent to bachelor's degree, additionally masters and doctoral level degrees are also offered by the Kurukshetra University and Maharshi Dayanand University.[26] In 2018, Haryana established Maharishi Balmiki Sanskrit University, Kaithal as a teaching and affiliating university for research in Sanskrit, vedas, Indic languages, Indian culture and Indian philosophy.[27]

Himachal Pradesh[edit]

Himachal Pradesh has many Sanskrit institutes.[28]

Jammu and Kashmir[edit]

Jammu and Kashmir has many Sanskrit institutes.[29]


Karnataka has many Sanskrit institutes.[30]


Kerala has many Sanskrit institutes, including Sree Sankaracharya University of Sanskrit.[31]

Madhya Pradesh[edit]

Madhya Pradesh has many Sanskrit institutes, including Maharishi Sandipani Rashtriya Ved Vidya Pratishthan and Maharishi Panini Sanskrit Evam Vedic Vishwavidyalaya.[32]


Maharashtra has many Sanskrit institutes, including Kavikulaguru Kalidas Sanskrit University.[33]


Odisha has many Sanskrit institutes, including Shri Jagannath Sanskrit Vishvavidayalaya.[34]

Punjab and Chandigarh[edit]

Punjab and Chandigarh have many Sanskrit institutes.[35]


Rajasthan has many Sanskrit institutes, including Jagadguru Ramanandacharya Rajasthan Sanskrit University.[36]


Sikkim has many Sanskrit institutes.[37]

Tamil Nadu[edit]

Tamil Nadu has many Sanskrit institutes.[38]


Tripura has many Sanskrit institutes.[39]

Uttar Pradesh[edit]

Uttar Pradesh has many Sanskrit institutes, including Sampurnanand Sanskrit University.[40]

West Bengal[edit]

West Bengal has at least four universities with Sanskrit departments.[41]

Revival Outside India[edit]

Over 100 institutes outside India offer academic studies in Sanskrit, here is the list of those.[42]


Following nations in the Indosphere offer opportunities for the Sanskrit studies

  • Indonesia: Udayana University of Bali established a "Chairs of Indian studies" in 2013 which also offers Sanskrit course in Denpasar with the help of Indian government.[45] Several institutes teach Sanskrit and Balinese Hinduism[46] including "Institut Agama Hindu Negeri Tampung Penyang", "Perguruan tinggi Hindu negeri di Indonesia", "Sekolah Tinggi Agama Hindu Negeri Gde Pudja Mataram" and many more. Indonesin languages are heavily influenced by Sanskrit and have numerous Sanskrit loandwords, mottos of institutes and ancient inscriptions.
  • Sri Lanka: Several institutes,[52] including over dozen universities offer bachelors, masters and doctoral degrees in Sanskrit.


Following nations in Africa offer opportunities for the Sanskrit studies.

  • South Africa: St James Preparatory Schools in Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg offers Sanskrit classes.[61][62][63]


Following nations in Americas offer opportunities for the Sanskrit studies.

  • USA: as of 2007, there are about 36 universities which offer Sanskrit education including the Johns Hopkins University, Harvard University etc.[64] In the United States, since September 2009, high school students have been able to receive credits as Independent Study or toward Foreign Language requirements by studying Sanskrit, as part of the "SAFL: Samskritam as a Foreign Language" program coordinated by Samskrita Bharati.[65]

Arab and Middle East[edit]

Following nations in the Middle East offer opportunities for the Sanskrit studies:


Following nations in the Europe offer opportunities for the Sanskrit studies, most notable being Germany, France, UK, Italy and Netherlands.


Following nations in the Oceania offer opportunities for the Sanskrit studies.

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Rajiv Malhotra (2016), Battle for Sanskrit: Dead or Alive, Oppressive or Liberating, Political or Sacred? (Publisher: Harper Collins India; ISBN 978-9351775386)


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External links[edit]