Addressing the nation in his monthly radio programme “Mann Ki Baat”, Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke about the significance of the ancient Indian language ‘Sanskrit’. On the occasion of Sanskrit Day, PM Modi lauded people for conserving the Sanskrit language and taking it to the masses. And specially mentioned Mattur village in Karnataka for preserving the language. PM Modi said that villagers of Mattur use Sanskrit as a living language. “You will be very knowledgeable that residents of Mattur village in Shimoga district of Karnataka State also use the Sanskrit language for talks today”, said the Prime Minister in Mann Ki Baat.
Mattur is a small village in Karnataka’s Shimoga district where most of the residents- from shopkeepers to children speak Sanskrit. As per an Indian Express report, 600 years ago, the Sankethis migrated from Kerala to Mattur and are its residents since then. The Sankethis speak Sanskrit and a rare dialect called Sankethi, which is a mixture of Sanskrit, Tamil, Kannada and Telugu. The Sankethi dialect has no written script and is read in the Devanagari script. Mattur is also popular for its Sanskrit graffiti. Quotes like “Maarge swachchataya virajate, grame sujanaha virajante” i.e. cleanliness is as important for a road as good people are for the village; are found in plenty across the street and on the walls of the houses.
In Mattur, students study in a Paathshala that focuses on Vedic texts and science. The pathshala students collect old Sanskrit palm leaves and try to expand the script on computers. They then rewrite the damaged text in present-day Sanskrit to make it available to the common man. Mattur is the home to over 30 Sanskrit professors teaching in Kuvempu, Bengaluru, Mysore, and Mangalore universities.
Praising Sanskrit even more, the PM also said during Mann Ki Baat that the knowledge that is attached to every area of life is in the Sanskrit language and its literature.