Sanskrit and Tamil are one of the earliest languages and have evolved through centuries. Both of them are not just languages but represent distinct cultures. In Tamilnadu, Sanskrit and Tamil have co-existed for centuries. Sanskrit words can be seen even in ancient Tamil literatures like Thirukkural, Aathichoodi and Kamba Ramayanam. Poet Tholkappiar has even suggested loaning words from Sanskrit in case it is required in any compositions. Right from ancient times and till the beginning of 20th Century, there have been healthy interactions between Tamil and Sanskrit and thousands of translations have happened between these two languages. The Invocation song to Tamil Language itself has about 10 Sanskrit words. Unfortunately, from the beginning of 20th Century, erroneous and misleading views about Sanskrit, mostly for political reasons, undermined the use and growth of Sanskrit in Tamilnadu.
Opinions of some of our leaders and scholars whose contribution to our Nation and Language are beyond compare, is quoted below. Every Tamilian should think over and introspect their opinions vis-a-vis such opinions and take this opportunity to learn Sanskrit to facilitate them to integrate better on a linguistic basis with the national mainstream.
Mahatma Gandhi : I see the necessity for every Hindu to have knowledge of Sanskrit. We have lost so much in the past that it will take some time and also a good deal of effort to regain and consolidate it. It has to be done sooner or later.
Swami Vivekananda : Sanskrit and culture go together. It is necessary that the masses should get access to this great language, for being acquainted with spirituality and culture of their forefathers. Education should be imparted through mother-tongue but “at the same time Sanskrit education must go on along with it because the very sound of Sanskrit words gives a prestige and a power and a strength to the race”. This is possible only when the Sanskrit language is made the national language of India.
Dr B. R. Ambedkar was among those who sponsored an amendment making Sanskrit as the official language of the Indian Union in place of Hindi.
Dr. A P J Abdul Kalam : Though I am not an expert in Sanskrit, I have many friends who are proficient in Sanskrit. Sanskrit is a beautiful language. It has enriched our society from time immemorial. Today many nations are trying to research Sanskrit writings which are there in our ancient scriptures. I understand that there is a wealth of knowledge available in Sanskrit which scientists and technologists are finding today. There is a need to carry out research on our Vedas, particularly Atharvana Veda, for eliciting valuable information in science and technology relating to medicine, flight sciences, material sciences and many other related fields.
Thiru Kamaraj : Sanskrit which is the abode of our country’s rich Culture and heritage must be studied by every Indian.
Thiru Ma.Po. Sivagnanam: I regret that, I could not study Sanskrit. I have never regretted for not studying English. After all, knowledge of English can bring only, worldly pleasures. With Sanskrit, one can acquire Spiritual knowledge. If only, I had studied Sanskrit, my contribution to Tamil Language could have been much more than at present.
Thiru Solomon Pappiah: Sanskrit like Tamil is a classical language. Knowledge of Sanskrit is a service to Tamil language. Due to political reasons, it has been deprived to large sections of people. Everybody should study Sanskrit, at least, to enable them to read Bhagavad Gita. I did not get an opportunity to learn Sanskrit. I view people who had such opportunities, as blessed.
Thiru Vaiyyapuri Pillai: Any historical information has to be collected only from the original source. It is not advisable to work on undocumented opinions. One has to study Sanskrit literature to understand the essence of it. Every Tamil Scholar has to necessarily know Sanskrit.