During the same 1921 Census, the number of speakers of
Indo-Aryan Languages was 229.561 million.
1.2 Brahmin Fantasies
When European scholars developed an interest in India, their main
focus was to understand Indian religion.
Thus, their primary source in all fields of Indology were
the Brahmins. These fundamentalists hence became the main source of
`knowledge' about first Indian religion, and later all of Indology in
Hence the entire field of Indology dating from the colonial era has been
highly biased, being essentially a regurgitated version of Vedic-Puranic
versions of history as
seen through the eyes of the Brahmins. As this section of the population
forms a mere 5 % of the Indian
population, these histories have been very unrepresentative of the truth.
Thus, Indian linguistics in its infancy adopted the
mythological Brahmanical notion that all languages were degraded forms of
Sanskrit. Sanskrit, a language which was merely liturgical and hardly
played any role in Indian history, all of a sudden became the focus of
attention. Indeed, this Brahminist fraud, now referred to as `The Mother
Sanskrit Theory', is one of the greatest hoaxes of
the 20th century.
Tall claims were made about this language. Sanskrit became the `mother of
all languages in India', and it soon came to be believed that all
literatures in the world, including Greek, Latin, etc. were derived frm
Sanskrit ! All these Brahmin fantasies were eagerly copied down by their
European collaborators, who placed these absurdities in academic garb. Max
Mueller and William Jones were only the pioneers in this movement, which,
whilst displaying a superficial novelty in Europe, were in fact based on
Puranic notions. Virtually all efforts of the European colonialists
towards studying India were devoted towards studying Brahmanism;
non-Sanskrit civilizations were given scarcely any attention.
This was, in a sense, a reward granted by the Europeans for services
rendered by the Brahmins, who had actively collaborated with the
colonialists. This hangover continues today, and even now `Indology'
virtually means the study of Sanskrit and Brahmanic civilization;
Dravidian, Indo-Muslim and Prakritic civilizations are blissfully ignored.
It is all the more
shocking that some European
scholars still actively collaborate in propagating plainly false Puranic
recently, certain deluded Europeans
have made the following statements :
This Mother Sanskrit Theory (MST) then, arose during the Anglo-Brahmin
colonial era when the Europeans adopted Brahmanic Vedic and Puranic
theories of Indian history and civilization. As per this now
discredited theory, Sanskrit is the `Mother of all World Langauges'.
This model has now been discredited, but a variant of the MST still
pervades Indian linguistics, namely the claim that `Sanskrit is the Mother
of all Indian languages'. Unfortunately, the MST is still being taught in
Indian universities as a hangover from the Colonial era.
Elaborate family trees are still drawn up; of which a simplified version
for Indian languages generally taught today in the North can be drawn up :
- David Frawley said,
" It [ Sanskrit ] has been regarded as the best language for computers
because of its clarity." [ Myth, Ch.24 ]. Those familiar
with David Frawley know him as an avid propagator of Brahmin Vedic and
Puranic fallacies, such as the Puranic `Out of India' hypothesis.
- According to the Forbes magazine (July,1987),
"Sanskrit is the most
convenient language for somputer software programming". The import is
to somehow build a halo around Brahmanic Sanskrit. However, why Sanskrit
has not then replaced established computer languages such as Basic, C,
Fortran are not answered. Computers still utilise binary code and no
Sanskrit-based counting system. Nor have humans adopted the binary system
in which computers can calculate so well; we are all quite satisfied with
the decimal system, which is of Harappan-Sumerian origin.
MOTHER SANSKRIT THEORY (MST)
/ / \
Bengali Hindi Marathi
Thus, as per this theory, Sanskrit somehow developed into Prakrit,
simultaneously developing into
Pali. Prakrit then somehow developed into Apabrahmsa, which then developed
the modern Indo-Aryan languages. Sanskrit was supposedly the spoken
the much-hyped `Golden Age of Indian Culture', the Gupta Empire, and was
supposedly the vernacular during the Vedic Age. Thus, all Indo-Aryan
languages are seen as being mere derivatives of Sanskrit.
Unfortunately, this wrong and highly biased view still persists in many
encyclopedias. This MST is refuted below.
1.3 Non-Existsnce of Sanskrit Before 500 BC
The prime fact which has been suppressed by the Anglo-Brahmin elite is
Sanskrit did not exist prior to the 6th century BC. This circumstance is
the following points :
The word `Sanskrit' does not occur anywhere in the Vedas. Not a single
verse mentions this word as denoting a language.
The Vedic language was referred to as Chandasa even by Panini himself [
Chatt., p.63 ], and not as
Buddha - The Buddha was advised to translate his
teachings into the learned man's tongue - the `Chandasa' standard [
Chatt., p.64 ], there is no mention of any `Sanskrit'.
The Buddha refused, preferring the Prakrits. There is not even a single
any contemporary Buddhist texts to the word `Sanskrit'. This shows that
Sanskrit did not even exist at the time of the Buddha and that the people
at that period, even the Brahmins themselves, were not aware of themselves
as speaking `Sanskrit'; they referred to their language as `Chandasa'.
The word `Sanskrit'
occurs for the first time as referring to a language in the Ramayana :
"In the latter [Ramayana] the term `samskrta' "formal, polished", is
encountered, probably for the first time with reference to the language"
-- [ EB 22 `Langs', p.616 ]
It is to be noted that extant versions of the Ramayana date only to the
Asokan Script -
The first inscriptions in Indian history are in Prakrit and not in
Sanskrit. These are
by the Mauryan King Ashoka (c.273
BC - 232 BC ), and number over 30.
They date to the 4th century BC. The script utilised is
`sacred' Devanagari, and the language is not `Mother' Sanskrit.
They are mostly in the Brahmi script, while 2 inscriptions
are in Kharoshtri. They are in various Prakrits and some in Afghanistan
are in Greek and Aramaic [ Bas,. p.390-1 ].
In fact all inscriptions in India were in Prakrit till the early
centuries AD :
"[T]he earlier inscriptions up to the 1st century AD, were all in
-- [ Up., p.164 ]
Satavahana Inscriptions -
The Satavahanas, the first historical
dynasty of the Deccan, also used a Prakrit language. There is no usage
The Nagarjunikonda insrciptions are by the Satvahana king Vijaya Satakarni
in the early 3rd cetnruy AD & end with the Ikshvaku Rudrapurusadatta who
ruled for 11 years in the second quarter of the 4th century. Most of the
large number of inscriptions are in Prakrit and only a few belonging to
Ehuvulu Santamula are in Sanskrit (he ruled during the last 24 years of
the 3rd to the early 4th century AD ) but even most of his inscriptions
are in Prakrit and those which are in Sasnkrit are heavily influenced by
[ Bhatt., p.408 ftn.46 ].
The Nanaghat cave inscriptions in Poona distt. are in Prakrit and are
the work of the Satavahana Satakarni I. They have been dated to the first
half of the 1st century
BC. The contemporary relgiion of this region was Vedic. Indra and Vasudev
are mentioned as the Vedic gods
then worshipped [ Bas, p.395 ]. The later cave inscriptions of Nasik in
1st and 2nd centuries AD are in the local Prakrit [ Bas, p.395 ]. Thus,
although the Vedic religion was followed in the Satavahana regions,
Sanksrit was not in use.
Even Gandhari existed prior to Sanskrit. The Pali Dhammapada in
Gandhari was discovered at Khotan in Kharoshtri script. It dates to the
1st or 2nd century AD. A Gandhari insrcription was discovered on a copper
casket containing relics of the Lord Sakyamuni
[ Bas, p.393 ].
Kharavela's Kalinga Inscription -
Kharavela's Kalingan inscription of the 1st century BC were in a Prakrit
of the east indian
type. Interseting is the first mention of the word
Bharatavarsha in an inscription. Kharavela is described as invading
Bharatavarsha, which then evidently denoted only North India
[ Bas, p.393 ].
First Sanskrit Inscription : 150 AD -
The earliest inscription in Sanskrit is by the Saka Mahakshatrapa
Rudradaman at Junagarh in Gujarat dated to AD 150. However, even here
several of the words are wrong according to Sanskrit grammatical rules,
some words show Prakrit influence and a
few are un-Paninian [ Bas 397-8 ]. This inscription
is several centuries later than the earliest Prakrit inscriptions, and
are the creation of Sakas, not Arya kings.
1.4 Refutation of the Mother Sanskrit Theory (MST)
As usual, the load of Sanskrit-centric theories were a heap of nonsense.
The following developments have been instrumental in overturning the
old colonial reverence for the language :
Brajbuli dates to 1000 BC -
A central assumption of the MST is that all Prakrit vernaculars must be of
a very late date. With the first mention of `Sanskrit' in a Ramayana
dating to the ealy centuries AD, any Prakrit existing prior to this
necessarily contradicts the Mother Sanskrit Theory. Indeed, even the
Brahmanic myths themselves present evidence of this with the Prakrit
Brajabuli, the precursor to the modern Braj Bhasa, is said to have
been used by Krishna and the gopis of Vraja (Vrindavan, whence Braj)
and it was thus popular amongst Vaishnava poets [ Assam, p.422.n3 ].
Krishna is dated to ca. 1000 BC, and this internal evidence would imply
that Braj Bhasa dated to
Recently, Krishna's city, Dvaraka, has been excavated, showing
that he probably was a historical person. The stories are hence based on
fact, and this evidence cannot be dismissed as a `myth'.
`Prakrit' = Vernacular -
The term `Prakrta' or Prakrit means `common', `natural', while the
`Samskrta' or Sanskrit natural means `polsihed, refined'
[ Up.164 ]. Thus Prakrit refers to any of the natural languages, while
Sanskrit refers to the `purified' language. This etymology itself
indicates that Sanskrit is derived from Prakrit rather than the other way
around. This necessarily implies that Sanskrit is, like Old Church
Slavonic, a polished version of various vernaculars.
Apabrahmsa is a Prakrit -
Apabrahmsa, which in the MST is seen as a derivative of Prakrit,
is in fact itself a Prakrit known as Abhiri. It was actually
comtemporary with all the other Prakrits, and the view that it succeeded
Prakrit is wrong. Several dramas have characters speaking Apabrahmsa and
Prakrits side by side. This shows that Apabrahmsa is not the second stage
in the development from Sanskrit, but was merely another Prakrit language.
Different Prakrit Languages -
Prakrit is not a single language. Since the beginning there were
several different Prakrit languages, which had different grammars and
Modern Prakrits -
As per the MST, the Prakrits are all dead languages, having `degraded'
into the modern Indo-Aryan tongues. However,
Prakrits never disappeared. All the modern Indo-Aryan (IA) languages are
Prakrits (Bengali, Marathi etc.). The ancient Prakrits are the direct
precursors of the modern languages, thus Vangi -> Bengali, Odri -> Oriya,
and Maharastri -> Marathi.
All these so-called `Prakrits' such as Vangi, Odri and Maharastri, can all
be understood by the speakers of their respective IA languages with the
same ease with which a modern speaker of English can understand
Anglo-Saxon. This fact alone is sufficient to refute the MST.
Far from being dead, Prakrit is still spoken in all parts of India just as
it has been for thousands of years.
The word Prakrit itself merely means `natural'
and refers to all the Indo-Iranian languages as spoken by the common man
in India. Thus, even the literal meaning of the word `Prakrit' implies
that it is far from dead.
Prakrit Older than Sanskrit - The MST claims that
Sanskrit is older than Prakrit. However,
it is Prakrit which is older than Sanskrit, since several features of
can be traced to the Rig Veda, which are not found in Sanskrit. This is
because Chandasa, when invented by the Brahmins ca. 5th century BC, was
a refined form of vernacular IA langueages, thereby losing certain
features which were preserved in Prakrit.
Other features -
- Pali poses another problem for the MST. As per the MST, it is an
independant derivation from Sanskrit, and is not a Prakrit.
However, Pali is in fact a dialect of Magadhi Prakrit and not a
separate language as evidenced by the mutual comprehensibility between
these two tongues.
- The Prakrits can be understood by the respective speakers
of modern Indo-Aryan languages, ie.
yet in the Sanskritic viewpoint Prakrits are dead.
- Vangi can be understood by modern Bengali speakers,
- Odri Prakrit can be understood by modern Oriyas,
- Maharashtri Prakrit can be understood by modern Marathis
1.5 Brahman Invention of Sanskrit, The Liturgical Language
The lack of a standard liturgical language was a grave defect for the 6
orthodox (`astika') schools of Brahmanism (comprising Aryan Vaishnavism,
Vedanta, Yoga, Vedism, etc.).
rise of `nastika' heterodxies, ie. Jainism (`jainas'), Buddhism
(`bauddhas'), etc. (collectively
referred to as `Sramanism')
associated with East Indic kingdoms, the Aryans of Aryavarta &
Brahmavarta sought to
counter this novel threat to Vedic orthodoxy by introducing a standard
litugical language (perhaps in emulation of the Buddhist Pali and Jain
Ardhamagadhi). The state of Panchala played a central role in this
This nation arose in the 8-9th centuries BC and
united different groups speaking North Indic and Midland Indo-Aryan
languages. It is here that Panini created the `chandas' language.
Soon thereafter the label `samskrta' (polished, whence later Sanskrit) was
applied to this liturgical language. Thus Sanskrit is a synthesis of
In this regard the origin of Sanskrit is exactly analogous to that of Old
- Vedic Languages :
- Atharvic and
- Brahmanic, the language of the Brahmanas
- Upanishadic, the language of the Upanishads
- North Indo-Aryan languages, eg. Bal Sarasvati (the precursor of
Konkani), Gandharvi (the precursor of Gandhari), etc.
- Midland Indo-Aryan languages, eg. Braj buli (the language of
Krishna and Matsyi (the precursor of Sauraseni).
1.6 Mother of None
The Mother Sanskrit Theory (MST) has been now discarded. A new tree
diagram can now be drawn.
___________ Indo - Iranian _____________
/ / \ \ \
Indo-Aryan East Indic Dardic Scythic Iranic
/ \ \ \ (East Iranic) \
Vedic Madhyi Udicyi Pracyi \ \
/ Bibhasas Bibhasa \ Rajastani
Sanskrit / | | |\ Lahnda, Languages
/ | | | \ Old Sindhi
/ | | | \
Kanauji Sauraseni Gandhari Magadhi Vangi
/ (extinct) | | \
Braj Bhasa Magahi Bengali Kamrupi
/ \ \
Braj Bhakhta Khari Boli Assamese
[ P R A K R I T S ]
The dialect of Pracya was the one current is what is now Oudh and Eastern
U.P. and probably also Bihar. This language was prevalent among the
who were wandering Aryan-speaking tribes who did not owe allegiance to the
Vedic fire-cult and the social and religious organisation of Brahmanism [
Chatt., p.61 ].
Encyclopedia Britannica now acknowledge that the old MST is
" As Classical Sanskrit is not directly derivable from any single Vedic
dialect, so the Prakrits cannot be said to derive directly from Classical
-- [ EB 22 `lang ', p.618 ]
1.7 Comparison with Old Church Slavonic
Thus, Classical Sanskrit is exactly analogous to the Old Church Slavonic
language [ EB 22.696 ], which was created in 863 AD by Orthodox Slavs to
counteract the effect of the Latin Catholic Church. Old Church Slavonic
was a synthesis of
West Slavic languages and Byzantine Greek. This occurred in the Moravian
kingdom, which united West Slavs in the 9th century AD. Thus, both
Sanskrit and Old Church Slavonic arose as syntheses of various languages
and both arose as standard liturgical languages to counter heterodoxies.
1.8 Consequences of the MST & Sanskritisation
The MST and the
Brahminist policy of Sanskritisation had several
disastrous consequences for pre-Brahmanic civlizations :
Undermining of Pre-Brahmanic Langauges -
The MST had the debilitating effect of undermining pre-brahmanic
languages and caused great harm to these vernaculars.
The modern Indo-Aryan languages were viewed as `degraded', since
they were merely distorted forms of Sanskrit. This led to most Indians
developing a dislike for their own mother tongue.
Destruction of Non-Brahmin History -
The Indo-Aryan languages were viewed as being recent in origin,
since each vernacular and its respective Prakrit were seen as separate
languages. Thus, instead of accepting the fact of these languages
originating in 1000 BC, the MST held that Bengali,
Marathi, Oriya etc. were born between 1400-1500 AD !
Thus, instead of being respected for having histories of 3000 years, these
languages with a rich history
were denigrated as recent innovations.
Cultural Genocide -
Since these languages (Marathi, Gujarati, Bengali, etc.) were viewed
as being merely degraded forms of Sanskrit,
the MST naturally led to the idea of abolishing these languages and
replacing them with Sanskrit. Since these languages were supposedly of
recent origin, having been spoken only for the last 300-500 years, whereas
Sanskrit had been purportedly spoken for 3500 years, this seemed a natural
conclusion. Such concepts have been adopted by the Sangh Parivar, which
seeks to abolish all Prakritic languages and replace them with Sanskrit.
Hampering of Development -
Sanskritisation hampered the free development of these languages, since
they had to depend on Sankrit vocabulaery and literary models. The
vernaculars were deliberately corrupted with excessive Sanskritisation. In
the indigenous languages have been undermined and are nearing extinction.
native Marathi script has been replaced by Devanagari during the
Anglo-Brahmin Empire; Bhojpuri, Magahi, Mithili and Koshali have all been
replaced by Khari Boli Hindi,
Bengali was Sanskritised and undermined in the early
part of the 20th century, being saved only by Tagore; and Rajasthani is
nearing extinction, with the Brahmins having obliterated the Mahajani
script. Everywhere, the advance of Brahmanic Khari Boli Hindi is evident,
which in the MST is considered `purer' as being closer to Sanskrit than
the `degraded' vernaculars it is replacing.
1.9 Sanskrit is 30 % Dravidian
Many authors have made the fallacious claim that Sanskrit is the purest
of languages. In fact, Sanskrit has many Dravidian loanwords, and many
" Classical Sanskrit was profoundly influenced by Middle Indo-Aryan
[ ie. Prakrits ]. Not only were a large number of Middle Indo-Ayan words
adopted into Sanskrit, but a whole host of Prakrit root and verbal bases
of both Aryan and non-Aryan or uncertain origin were slightly altered to
look like Sanskrit and bodily adopted... This was realised by the ancient
scholars with whom Sanskrit represented just a variant, an earlier or
fuller form (patha) of Prakrit. "
Some scholars hold that more than 50 % of the vocabulary of
Sanskrit is of Dravidian and foreign origin; thus Lahovery writes that the
vocabulary of Sanskrit
"is largely formed of Dravidian and other loanwords"
[ Lah., p.407 on
Wool ]. The composition of Sanskrit vocabulary can be approximately given
-- [ Chatt., p.95 ]
- 70 % Non-Vedic
- 40 % Dravidian
- 30 % Prakrits and Others
- 30 % Vedic (Old Indo-Aryan)