Popularising Sanskrit: This vegetable market bats for ‘Sanskrit’

As per the recent report here, A vegetable market is the last place you would think of going to learn or even read Sanskrit but then the ‘Nishatganj vegetable market’ is trying to be different. In this market, all the names of vegetables are written in ‘Sanskrit Language’ on tiny placards.

For instance, The mundane Aloo or potato is known as ‘Alookam’ and tomato is ‘raktphalam’. Bitter gourd or karela is known as “karvelah’ and carrots are ‘gunjanakkam’ while garlic is ‘lashuman’. Onions are known as ‘Palanduh’ and ginger is ‘adrakam’.

Meanwhile, Mr Sonu, a vegetable seller, examines this ‘unique’ kind of experiment and they remarked, “We thought of popularising Sanskrit and though none of us are familiar with the language, we decided to go ahead. We got a local Sanskrit teacher to help us and when we put up the Sanskrit names of all vegetables”, As per he asserted.

Some vegetable names in Sanskrit.

Following the agency source, Slowly the customers are also learning the Sanskrit names of vegetables and some of them even ask for ‘allookam’ or ‘raktphalam’. Some of the local shopkeepers, however, have termed the initiative as a publicity stunt.

While “The vegetable sellers themselves cannot understand or read or speak a word of Sanskrit but this is being done to get free publicity. It is not good for the market and we have decided to dissuade the practice which make a mockery of Sanskrit,” assumed Asharam Agarwal, a general merchant store owner.

Moreover, He remarked that the vegetable sellers had removed the placards when they found no takers. The vegetable sellers stated that they had to remove the placards because vegetables need constant sprinkling of water in this heat and the cards would get wet.

Ravindra Sharma a regular buyer at the vegetable market, however lauded the initiative and said: “It is a great effort to popularise the language which is a part of our history. I have learnt the Sanskrit names of a few vegetables too.”

The shopkeepers, however, do not insist on customers using Sanskrit to converse. “We do not know how to speak Sanskrit either and we are also learning the names of various vegetables and fruits right now,”. We know that ‘Haritkani’ are leaf vegetables, ‘kandmulani’ refers o root vegetables, ‘shakvat’ is a vegetable garden and ‘shakras’ is vegetable juice.

Despite all of this, Sanskrit is not only being popularised in schools and market place in the country but also abroad in all CBSE-affliated schools, the union government asserted.  The HRD report should also look into whether Sanskrit is being offered for students in all three streams — arts, science and commerce.

It has also been asked to collect data of the number of sanctioned posts of teachers in every state, number of posts filled and the number of vacant posts in all government schools, aided schools and private. Thus, “It will help students of Sanskrit to utilise the online resource as well as understanding their course content and Sanskrit in a constructive environment,” the HRD ministry asserted.

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