Definition of Legacy : Something handed down from an ancestor or a predecessor or from the past
Definition of Heritage : Something immaterial, as a style or philosophy, that is passed from one generation to another
Is language just a means of communication or is it sometimes more?
Does it matter if things change if the things that are dying are the things which teach us life lessons and humility, tolerance and universal brotherhood?
If a beautiful animal, monument, climate are to be protected why should a language which teaches us co existence,reverence for all human beings and has solutions to ALL life questions be allowed to disappear?
Do we stop moving forward if something which is old but aids our movement, in the right direction is relied upon?
Do some basic instincts of nature and nurture and fundamental issues like peace, harmony, love, wisdom, healthy family and social life change with time?
Something of extreme value, which has been abused and perceived as defunct today(functionality unfortunately depends on the ability of 'X' to earn money and position today) should be thrown away without any second thought or reform?
I saw the Fatehpur Sikri and Taj Mahal and I wanted to preserve it.
I saw the Golden Temple and I was happy that it was restored after Operation Blue Star.
I saw the Bengal Tiger and I became a fan of the Save The Tiger Campaign
I visited the beautiful Goa churches and I hoped they would be well taken care of.
My favorite books are duly noted down in a list meant to be given to my children when they are of age.
I read/listened to a fraction of Geeta, Ved, Upanishads, the stories of our sages and I so badly want to pass it on to my children...all children...future generations of my country and the world.
Am I being silly? Am I fighting against the inevitable? I guess I am wishing for what many wished for and acted towards too. If not then, something which is as old as it is, would not have still been around. I am not talking about The National Language. I do not believe in having One National Language or some such title in a linguistically rich and diverse country. It is as symbolic and purposeless as having a National Bird/Animal/Flower, and this only ruffles many a feather and hurts many a fragile ego.
I am talking about preserving/protecting/promoting Sanskrit the language of our scriptures. (The understanding of the difference between forcing and promoting/preserving is assumed here.) The language which enshrines our intellectual and spiritual heritage. A language which is respected and revered by scholars world over and tragically garners diminishing interest within its own country of origin. Oh by the way did the 'practical' people tell what a waste of time and effort it was for the Jews to revive their dying language.(Hebrew has been revived as a literary language several times as a matter of fact)
I know many things die their natural death but don't we try to keep something alive as long as possible which is dear to us and nourishing. Case in point is seed banks. A beautiful tree or an essential food grain may die but we do save its seeds for our future generations. Do we not protect and make efforts to preserve Sanskrit and any other language which offers us valuable insight to our history, and which is responsible for our very essence? What we have taken for granted or for inherent 'Indianness' from Yoga and Ayurveda to the famous Indian Hospitality (Atithi Devobhava) is a legacy handed down to us. It makes us who we are. It should not be confused with the infamous and politically incorrect word 'Religion'. Its a Way of Life. An Indian way of life. And anything which is uniquely us, beautifully us, should be saved.
Every best-seller self-help books and those propounding some great philosophy contain ideas which are not new. It is a fraction of what is there in our scriptures. But then one ought to have seen and fallen in love with a Gulmohar Tree to want to save it somehow, for our children and grandchildren. We do our best to save our Grandmother's unique recipe and how easily we give up on these gems. For if you cannot read and understand how long will it be before it disappears? We are still lucky to have some great Teachers of Vedanta but for how long? If there is a general indifference and ridicule for the language, any language which is more than a means of functional communication it is the death of a culture, be it Bengali, Tamilian, Marathi, Indian Muslim. The smaller but essential arms of the Big Beautiful Indian Culture.
As fellow (American :)) blogger says "It saddens me that translations are taken to be the 100% pure meaning of the original text. :( Anytime something is translated, its original meaning is changed. That's why translators are listed after the author -- because they've colored the entire topic, intentionally or unintentionally."
Surely when things die, new ones will take their place. But the dying should leave a legacy, which the young are proud of. A heritage which nourishes them and humanity.