Symposium On Vedāṅga-s

INDICA’s Center for Bhasha Studies (CBS) invites you to the fourth online symposium, on Vedāṅga-s, on October 14th, 2023 (Sat), from 0800 to 1300 hrs IST.

Vedāṅga-s—comprising Śikṣā, Vyākaraṇa, Chandas, Nirukta, Kalpa, and  Jyotiṣa—are a “specific body of knowledge, practices, and tools and techniques”[1] that were created to preserve the Veda-s and appropriately use them. Vedāṅga is a combination of two words: Veda and Aṅga. Aṅga (अङ्ग) is used here in the sense of Upakāraka (loosely, useful tool):

“‘अङ्ग’ शब्द का व्युत्पत्तिलभ्य अर्थ है- ‘उपकारक’- ‘अङ्ग्यन्ते ज्ञायन्ते अमीभिरिति अङ्गानि’, अर्थात् जिनके द्वारा किसी वस्तु के स्वरूप को जानने में सहायता मिलती है उन्हें ‘अङ्ग’ कहते हैं। भाषा तथा भाव दोनों दृष्टियों से वेद दुर्बोध है अतः वेद के अर्थज्ञान के लिए उसके कर्मकाण्ड के प्रतिपादन में जो उपयोगी शास्त्र हैं उन्हें ‘वेदाङ्ग’ नाम से अभिहित किया जाता है। वेद के यथार्थ ज्ञान के लिए छह विषयों को जानना परमावश्यक है। वैदिक मन्त्रों का ठीक-ठीक उच्चारण प्रथम आवश्यक वस्तु है। इस उच्चारण के निमित्त प्रवर्तमान वेदाङ्ग ‘शिक्षा’ कहलाता है। वेद का मुख्य प्रयोजन वैदिक कर्मकाण्ड, यज्ञ-याग का यथार्थ है। इसके लिए प्रवर्तमान अङ्ग ‘कल्प’ कहलाता है। कल्प का अर्थ है- ‘कल्प्यते समर्थ्यते यागप्रयोगोऽत्र’ अर्थात् यज्ञ के प्रयोगों का समर्थन जिसमें किया जाय वह ‘कल्प’ है। व्याकरण-शास्त्र पदों के प्रकृति-प्रत्यय का उपदेश देकर पद के स्वरूप का परिचय तथा उसके अर्थ का भी निश्चय करता है। फलतः पदस्वरूप और पदार्थ-निश्चय के निमित्त ‘व्याकरण’ का उपयोग होने से वह भी वेदाङ्ग है । ‘निरुक्त’ में पदों की निरुक्ति बताई गयी है । निरुक्ति की भिन्नता से अर्थ में भिन्नता होती है। इसलिए वेद के अर्थनिर्णय के लिए ‘निरुक्त’ भी वेदाङ्ग कहा जाता हैं । वेद छन्दोमयी वाणी है । छन्दों से परिचित होने पर ही मन्त्रों के उच्चारण और पाठ का यथार्थ ज्ञान हो सकता है। इसीलिए छन्दों की वेदाङ्गता है। ज्योतिष यज्ञ-याग के उचित समय का निर्देश करता है। नक्षत्र, तिथि, मास तथा सम्वत्सर का ज्ञान वैदिक कर्मकाण्ड के लिए आवश्यक है। इसीलिए ज्योतिष की वेदाङ्गता है।”[2]

“Śikṣā is the nose of the Vedapuruṣa, Vyākaraṇa his mouth, Kalpa his hand, Nirukta his ear, Chandas his foot and Jyotiṣa his eye.”[3] “Of the six primary Vedāṅgas, phonetics or Śikṣā (literally meaning “the study” or “teaching”) is usually listed first and is regarded as the most important. Because the Vedas were preserved and transmitted orally, rules for precise pronunciation were crucial for maintaining the accuracy and integrity of the texts. Phonetics emerged as the first branch of linguistics, and its categories—sound, accent, quantity, articulation, recital, and connection —were fundamental for the subsequent development of linguistic studies. Important works on phonetics were composed by Pāṇini, Nārada, Vyāsa, and others.

Vyākaraṇa (“distinction,” “separation”) is so termed because grammar distinguishes roots, suffixes, and prefixes: it is the science that analyzes the parts and structure of a word and the method for such divisions. It also explains how correct words and sentences are formed from basic elements so that the intended meaning is clearly expressed, and is therefore also a crucial science for both the preservation and the understanding of the Vedas. Pāṇini’s Aṣṭādhyāyī (Eight chapters) is the foundational text on grammar, along with important commentaries by Kātyāyanīputra (Kātyāyana) and Patan̄jali.

Chandas, or prosody, is the Vedāṅga that gives rules for the various meters in which the Vedas are recited, and lays out their classification and characteristics. The meters are divided into fourteen types ranging from those with twenty-four letters (the gāyatrī ) to those with seventy-six. The word chandas is sometimes used as a synonym for Vedic speech itself, as opposed to common language (bhāṣā).

According to tradition, there were originally some fourteen works of etymology included in the Vedāṅga designated Nirukta. Only one of these survives. The sole extant representative of the Vedāṅga dealing with etymology is the Nirukta by Yāska (dated ca. 500 bce), which is a commentary on an older work (called the Nighantu) consisting of lists, groupings, and synonyms of words from the Ṛgveda. Yāska provides etymologies for these words and explanations of the stanzas from the Ṛgveda in which they occur. In the Nirukta, Yāska says he composed his text to insure that the correct meaning of the Veda is preserved even as people’s abilities decline the further removed they are from the time of the original seers, who “heard” the Veda with direct intuitive insight. Without the aid of etymology, Yāska claims, the meaning of the Veda cannot be properly determined.

Vedic rituals were performed regularly at the various “junctures” of time: sunrise and sunset, the advent of new and full moons, the turn of the seasons, and the beginning of the new year. The ancient Indian science of astronomy developed out of the need for exact computations of the proper times for performing those rituals. Additionally, works on this subject also address what we would label astrology: the casting of horoscopes and predictions made on the basis of the location of the planets and stars, which helped the specialist adduce the most auspicious times for important events.

Finally, the Vedāṅga called Kalpa (from the Sanskrit root meaning “to prepare, design, arrange, or accomplish”) consists of the rules and procedures for the actual performance of rituals. Kalpasūtras were produced by different ritual schools attached to one or another of the Vedas and are named after their mythical or semi-mythical founders (e.g., Baudhāyana, Āpastamba, etc.). A full Kalpasūtra consists of four principal components. First, there is the Śrautasūtra, which deals with the rules for performing the most complex rituals of the Vedic repertoire. Next comes the Gṛhyasūtra, which lays out the injunctions governing performance of the simpler “domestic” or household rituals. Third is the Dharmasūtra, which extends the reach of ruled, ritualized behavior to ethics and purity as they pertain to nearly every sector of daily life. Finally, a complete Kalpasūtra will also contain a Śulbasūtra that gives the rules of measurement for the construction of ritual altars. From this last component developed the Indian sciences of geometry, trigonometry, and algebra.”[4]

With three previous symposiums of INDICA having covered some aspects of Vyākaraṇa, Chandas, and Nirukta, the forthcoming one will focus on some aspects of the remaining three Vedāṅga-s, that is, Śikṣā, Kalpa, and Jyotiṣa.

Megh Kalyan

On Vedāṅga-s: Some Thoughts


Arvind Iyer

Summarising Vyākaraṇa, Chandas, & Nirukta INDICA symposiums


Korada Subrahmanyam

An overview of Śikṣā


Vishvas Vasuki

Kalpa – Embodied Religion


Sushree Sasmita Pati

An overview of Dharmasūtra-s


Aditya Kolachana

Vedāṅga Jyotiṣa


Vanishri Bhat

An overview of Śulbasūtra-s


Megh Kalyan

Closing remarks


To study the Vedāṅga-s is to embark on a journey of discovery. It is to learn about the secrets of language, the rhythms of the universe, the meaning of life itself (and more!). Join us on Saturday, October 14th, 2023, from 08:00 to 1300 hrs IST to explore various aspects of the Vedāṅga-s.

[1] Mahadevan et al (2022:38)

[2] उपाध्यायबलदेव (1997:9)

[3] Saraswati (2008:278)

[4] “Vedāṅgas” in


B, Mahadevan, Vinayak Rajat Bhat, and Nagendra Pavana R.N. 2022. Introduction to Indian Knowledge System – Concepts and Applications. PHI Learning Pvt. Ltd.

Saraswati, Chandrasekharendra. 2008. Hindu Dharma : The Universal Way of Life. Mumbai Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan.

Upadhyaya , Baldev. 1997. संस्कृत-वाङ्मय का बृहद् इतिहास. Vol. II (द्वितीय खण्ड) वेदाङ्ग. Lucknow: उत्तर प्रदेश संस्कृत संस्थान.

“Vedāṅgas.” Encyclopedia of Religion. (September 19, 2023).

Symposium On The Art & Science Of Sutra-s

INDICA invites you to The Art & Science of Sūtra-s, an online symposium planned on July 30th, 2023 (Sunday) between IST 08:30 hrs-16:00 hrs.

Brevity and Accuracy, highly valued in scientific and technical communication in contemporary times, have been integral to Indian Knowledge Systems (IKS) courtesy of Sūtra-s. A common traditional definition of a Sūtra is the following:

अल्पाक्षरं असंदिग्धं सारवत् विश्वतोमुखम्।

अस्तोभं अनवद्यं च सूत्रं सूत्र विदो विदुः ॥

(alpākara asadigdha sāravat viśvatomukham

astobha anavadya ca sūtra sūtra vido vidu ||)

Meaning: “The knowers of Sūtras called that (statement) as Sūtra which consists of very few syllables, is free from ambiguity, full of essence, which is comprehensive in application yet devoid of superfluous adjuncts and contains no objectionable word.” (59.117, The Vāyu Purāa Part I, Page 429, G.V. Tagare, 1987, Motilal Banarsidass)

Sūtra-s are often misunderstood, however, as just maxims, aphorisms, or brief statements. There is a lot more to Sūtra-s, though. For instance, many Sūtragrantha-s (loosely, Sūtra texts) have been absolutely central to both the genesis and subsequent development and propagation of different Śāstra-s.

Register for INDICA’s online symposium The Art & Science of Sūtra-s on 30th July (Sunday) to explore the world of Sūtra-s, including but not limited to their classification, methods involved in their formation, relationship with and variations across Śāstra-s, their impact on the development of Śāstra-s, cross-cultural comparison with Western concepts (such as laws and theorems), and their relevance to and utility for diverse contemporary fields such as education, psychology, and technology (amongst others).

Target Audience:

This symposium welcomes scholars, researchers, educators, students, practitioners, and enthusiasts interested in exploring the historical, philosophical, linguistic, and practical aspects of Sūtra-s. Participants from various disciplines, including philosophy, linguistics, mathematics, spirituality, and more, will find value in this interdisciplinary dialogue which aims to foster cross-cultural dialogue, inspire new perspectives, and highlight the timeless relevance of these concise statements of wisdom. Join us to delve into the depths of Sūtra-s and unlock their transformative power.


8.30 AM Dr. Nagaraj Paturi
Dean, Indian Knowledge Systems, INDICA
Welcome Address & Concept Of The Symposium:
Sutras, A Unique Technique Of Vedic Knowledge Systems
9.15 AM Swami Advayananda
President of Chinmaya International Foundation (CIF) and as a Trustee of Chinmaya Vishwa Vidyapeeth (CVV)
Inaugural Address: Sutra Is The Basic Foundation Of
Indian Knowledge Systems
10.00 AM Dr. Jammalamadaka Suryanarayana
Senior Project Manager, Siddhanta Knowledge Foundation, Chennai
The Sutra Composition Process: The Case Of Nyaya Sutras
10.45 AM Jammalamadaka Srinivas
Director, School of Sastric Learning, Kavikulaguru Kalidas Sanskrit University, Ramtek, Maharashtra
Exploring The Background Of Concise Expression Of Chanakya In Arthasastra
11.30 AM Prof. Madhusudan Penna The Sutra Creation And Technique Of Application Of Yoga Sutras
12.15 PM Prof. Gauri Mahulikar
Dean & Professor, Chinmaya Vishwa Vidyapeeth, Kochi
Critical Analysis Of The Brahmasutras And Concept Of Chatussutri


1.30 PM Sri Karthik Sharma K
Asst. Professor, School of Vedic Knowledge Systems, Chinmaya Vishwa Vidyapeeth, Kochi
Brahmasūtreṣu Tātparya-Nirṇāyaka-Vicārapaddhatiḥ
2.15 PM Dr. Pavankumar Satuluri
Asst. Professor, School of Linguistics & Literary Studies, Chinmaya Vishwa Vidyapeeth, Kochi
Comparison Of Ashtadyayee Sutra Paddhati With Sutra Paddhati In Other Shaastras and TG Gramar Of Chomsky
3.00 PM Dr. Sivakumari Katuri
Asst. Professor (Contract), Central Sanskrit University,
Rajiv Gandhi Campus, Sringeri
AndhravyakaraNe Sutrarachanayaam PaaNineeyaprabhavaha
3.45 PM Megh Kalyanasundaram
Director – Special Projects, INDICA
Vote of Thanks


Symposium On Yāskācārya’s Nirukta

INDICA’s Center for Bhasha Studies (CBS) invites you to an online symposium on Yāskācārya’s Nirukta on Sunday, July 2nd, 2023, from 4:00 to 7:30 PM IST.

The Nirukta is one of the six Vedāṅga-s, or auxiliary disciplines of the Vedas. It is considered the “ear of the Vedapuruṣa,” (Sarasvati, 2008, p. 345) or an essential text for understanding the Vedas. Attributed to Yāskācārya, a Ṛṣi who has been called “the first etymologist of the world,” (Mishra, 2022, p. 234) the Nirukta is a commentary on the Nighaṇṭu, a compilation of Vedic words.

The Nirukta is the earliest surviving work of its kind, and it aims to decipher the meaning of Vedic passages through etymological analysis of words, keeping in mind the context of the Vedic texts. In his introduction to Nirukta published over a 100 years ago, Lakshman Sarup—the first person to submit a DPhil thesis at Oxford—elaborated, in substantial detail, on Yāska’s contribution to etymology, philology, and semantics. Sarup observed that Yāska was “the first writer on etymology” (Sarup, 1920, p. 56) and “the first to treat it as a science by itself.” (ibid.) He also noted that some of Yāska’s arguments about words were “strikingly modern.”  (Sarup, 1920, p. 65)

David Zilberman has rightly called the Nirukta a “polythematic” (Zilberman, 1988, p. 90) text, meaning that it covers a wide range of topics related to language and meaning. It is a profound and important work, and despite being “… the world’s first text of interpretation…”  (Kapoor, 2013, p. 94), it appears to not be as well-known (Poll) as it should be. This symposium aims to contribute to addressing this lack of awareness.

Join us on Sunday, July 2nd, 2023, from 4:00 to 7:30 PM IST to delve into the profound insights of Yāskācārya’s Nirukta.


Kapoor, K. (2013). Conceptualizing India—The Given and the Borrowed. In A. N. Balslev (Ed.), On India: Self-image and Counter-image. Sage Publications India Pvt Ltd. Delhi. 

Mishra, S. (2022). The Rishi Tradition of Bhārat. Subbu Publications. Bengaluru.

Saraswati, C. (2008). Hindu Dharma : The Universal Way Of Life. Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. Mumbai.

Sarup, L. (1920). THE NIGHAṆṬU AND THE NIRUKTA: The oldest Indian treatise on Etymology, Philology and Semantics [INTRODUCTION]. London. 

Zilberman, D. B. (1988). The Birth of meaning in Hindu thought (R. S. Cohen, Ed.). Reidel.


1 Megh Kalyanasundaram
Director-Special Projects, INDICA
Invocation And Symposium Overview 4:00 PM
2 Prof. Gauri Mahulikar
Academic Director of Chinmaya International Foundation, Ernakulam, Kerala
Study Of Some Homonyms In Nirukta (In The Light Of Durgacharya’s Commentary) 4:15 PM
3 Dr. Vasantkumar M. Bhatt
Professor (Retd.), Sanskrit Scholar, Author, and Manuscriptologist; Retired in 2015 as Director of the School of Languages, Gujarat University,
Insights About And From The Nighaṇṭu And The Nirukta 5:00 PM
4 Dr. Korada Subrahmanyam
Sanskrit Grammarian & Scholar, Professor (Retd.)
Niruktam Is The Tail End Of Vyakaranam 5:45 PM
5 Megh Kalyanasundaram
Director-Special Projects, INDICA
Beyond Etymology: Nirukta’s Significance For Global Histories Of Science, Technology And Indian History Of Writing & Knowledge Systems 6:30 PM
6 Dr. Nagaraj Paturi
Senior Director & Chief Curator, INDICA
Multiple Levels Of Meaning, Nirukta’s Lessons For Contemporary Lexicography 7:00 PM


Symposium on Chandas: Cadences of Indic Thought

The term ṛc (ऋच्) occurring in the name Ṛgveda (ऋग्वेदः) itself has a meaning of “verse”. During learning and recitation of the Veda mantra-s in the traditional manner, it is customary to acknowledge the name of the poetic meter or Chandas (छन्दस्) of the mantra, along with the names of the Ṛṣi (ऋषिः) who first witnessed the mantra and the Devatā (देवता) to whom it is addressed. Along with the discipline of correct utterance of letters that is Śikṣā, and the disciplines of correctly determining the form and function of words that are Vyākaraṇa and Nirukta, the discipline of prosody that is Chandaḥ-śāstra has been accorded the status of a Vedāṅga, a limb of the Veda. Metric verse stands out as an appealing and enduring medium for the expression of Bhāratīya thought, be it the hymns of the Veda, epic and devotional poetry, or treatises on the sciences and arts encompassing both śāstra and kāvya. A testimony to the enduring appeal of the metric verse medium to Bhāratīya hearts and minds across time and space, is that this medium over all others was chosen for Vālmīki’s Rāmāyaṇa from deep antiquity and Kālidāsa’s Raghuvaṃśa in the Classical Period, and also in the Rāmāyaṇa relived by Kambaṉ in Tamiḻ or Tulasīdāsa in Avadhī or Kṛttivāsa in Bāṅgla closer to our times. Sayings which are recalled by Bhāratīya-s to this day and serve to connect them with both the sacred and worldly wisdom of the ages, such as Subhāṣita-s in Saṃskṛtam, kuṟaḷ-s in Tamiḻ, or dohā-s in Avadhī, are in metric verse. The origin of Chandas is close to the revelation of the Veda itself, and it seems like the effect of Chandas ever since has been to set the cadences of Bhāratīya thought itself.

The Chandaśśāstra of Piṅgala, a definitive pioneering text in Chandas like the Aṣṭādhyāyī of Pāṇini in Vyākaraṇa, enumerates poetic meters occurring in the Veda corpus. The problem of enumerating possible meters in verses of a given length, both in Piṅgala’s text and in later texts based on it such as Halāyudha’s and Virahāṅka’s in the second millennium CE, stimulated early Indian efforts in the field of Combinatorics. Chandas, like Vyākaraṇa, developed as a śāstra in its own right, as well as a discipline of expression for other śāstra-s. Poetic meters employed in śāstra and kāvya literature, as enumerated in the 10th century Vṛttaratnākara compendium of Kedārabhaṭṭa, are more numerous than those occurring in the Veda. Of these meters, many that can be recognized as descendants of the Chandas families in the Veda, occur alongside meters such as Āryā which have extensive presence in Prākṛta literature besides Saṃskṛtam. It is in the Āryā meter that the Āryabhaṭiyam, the pioneering mathematical treatise in Saṃskṛtam, and the Gāhā Sattasaī, the pre-eminent poetic compilation in Prākṛta, are both written. The utility of metric verse in aiding memory reinforced by strong initial impression and aesthetic appeal has been recognized and harnessed by thinkers and expositors through the ages. While original verses of the Bhagavadgītā which is mostly in the classic anuṣṭup meter continue to be committed to memory, commentators who provided expositions in prose return to verse to provide summaries that will last in the minds of readers, like Abhinavagupta in tenth-century Kāśmīra giving Saṃskṛtam summary verses in the anuṣṭup meter in his Gītārthasaṅgraha, and D V Gundappa in twentieth-century Karṇāṭaka giving Kannaḍa summary verses in classic Kannaḍa meters in his Jīvanadharmayoga. On etymological grounds, Chandas is said to have the functions of both a protective covering and ornamental covering, and both these aspects are on display in how verses simultaneously preserve the memory and embellish the appearance of worthy ideas. 

It is in the realm of kāvya that the artistic possibilities of Chandas are experienced in all their grandeur. The most acclaimed poets in Saṃskṛtam including canonical Pañcamahākāvya-s have valued the discipline of consistently composing all verses in a sarga or chapter in a single meter. While there is artistic freedom in choosing meters, some meters have come to be naturally associated with genres, like the meter Mandākrāntā for the dūta-kāvya genre addressed to messengers for a lover like Kālidāsa’s Meghadūta, and the meter Vasantatilakā for Suprabhātam class of stotra-kāvya accompanying morning worship at temples. Verses of praise being rendered musically goes all the way back to the Veda, where some mantra-s belonging as ṛk-s in the Ṛgveda and recited to invite the presence of deities, are also sung as sāman-s of the Sāmaveda in the presence of the deities. Stotra-kāvya-s or devotional poetry both historically and in modern times, and dṛśya-kāvya-s or Sanskrit drama of ancient times both served to bring Chandas on stage in unison with other performing arts such as music and dance. Verses from the itihāsa-purāṇa and kāvya corpuses can be seen coming most alive in the company of music and dance during Yakṣagāna, Kucipuḍi and Kathakaḷi performances. As a Vedāṅga, Chandas has been likened to the feet of the Veda-puruṣa, and this seems a fitting characterization in the realm of art as well where Chandas has borne aloft the spoken and written word to the heights of expression and experience. The emphasis of this symposium is on Chandas as part of the integral infrastructure of Śāstra, Kāvya and Nāṭya.


Time Speaker Name Topic
09:30-09:35 Megh Kalyanasundaram Invocation and Welcome
09:35-09:45 Arvind V Iyer Symposium Concept
09:45-10:15 Sreelalitha Rupanagudi & Raghavendra Hebbalalu The Rhythm of Chandas – A Practical Demonstration
10:15-10:45 GSS Murthy Modern explorations into the ancient world of Sanskrit Chandas
10:45-11:15 Shashikiran BN Chandogati: Unravelling the Beauty of Poetic Metres
11:15-11:45 Dr. Shankar Rajaraman The interface of Chitrakavya and Chandas
11:45-12:15 Dr. Shrikaanth Krishnamurthy Verslation, Meters & Music
12:15-12:30 Arvind V Iyer Symposium Summary
12:30-13:00 Dr. Nagaraj Paturi Impressions and Closing remarks


Building संसाधनी (Saṃsādhanī) – A Sanskrit Computational Toolkit

INDICA’s Center for Bharatiya Languages presents a conversation with Dr. Amba Kulkarni on the 31st of March 2023 (Friday) between 1800 and 1900 hrs IST. This talk looks to introduce the listeners to संसाधनी (Saṃsādhanī), the impressive Sanskrit Computational Toolkit built under the inspiring leadership of Professor Kulkarni at the University of Hyderabad. Join in to get introduced to that intersection of Sanskrit, Grammar, Computational Linguistics, and Technology that has featured, and continues to feature, some of the most cutting-edge developments.

An Introduction to Kannada Literature

INDICA’s Center for Bharatiya Languages welcomes you to a conversation with Professor K.S. Kannan, Sant Rajinder Singh Ji Maharaj Chair in IIT-Madras, on the topic An Introduction to Kannada Literature on the 28th of January 2023 at IST 1800 hrs. This conversation, in English, intends to serve as an introduction to some facets of Kannada literature. Kannada, as some might know, is one of the six languages indigenous to India recognised by the Government of India as a ‘Classical’ language. As per this press release found on the Press Information Bureau website (, the criteria to determine the declaration of a language as a Classical language have been: i) High antiquity of its early texts/recorded history over a period of 1500-2000 years; (ii) A body of ancient literature/texts, which is considered a valuable heritage by generations of speakers; (iii) The literary tradition be original and not borrowed from another speech community; (iv) The classical language and literature being distinct from modern, there may also be a discontinuity between the classical language and its later forms or its offshoots.

An Introduction to Tamil Literature

INDICA’s Center for Bharatiya Languages welcomes you to a conversation with Pradeep Chakravarthy on the topic An Introduction to Tamil Literature on the 18th of February 2023 at IST 1800 hrs. This conversation, in English, intends to serve as an introduction to some facets of Tamil literature. As some might know, Tamil is one of the six languages indigenous to India and recognised by the Government of India as a ‘Classical’ language. Tamil was recognised as a Classical language by the Government of India (GoI) in 2004, making it the first among six that has been designated as ‘Classical’ by the Government of India. As per this press release found on the Press Information Bureau website (, the criteria to determine the declaration of a language as a Classical language have been: i) High antiquity of its early texts/recorded history over a period of 1500-2000 years; (ii) A body of ancient literature/texts, which is considered a valuable heritage by generations of speakers; (iii) The literary tradition be original and not borrowed from another speech community; (iv) The classical language and literature being distinct from modern, there may also be a discontinuity between the classical language and its later forms or its offshoots.

Sentence Construction in Sanskrit (Hindi)

INDICA’s Center for Bharatiya Languages invites you to a conversation with Professor (retd.) Dr. Vasantkumar M. Bhatt on the 10th of January (Tue) 2023 at IST 1600 hrs. This conversation, primarily in Hindi, on some aspects of sentence construction in Sanskrit, will draw from his best-selling book संस्कृत वाक्य-संरचना first published in 1996 by Saraswati Pustak Bhandar (Ratan Pola, Ahmedabad) which is already into its tenth edition in 2022. This book is written in Gujarati for those who want to learn Sanskrit as a second language.

An Introduction to the Magnificent Indian Thesaurus AMARAKOŚA

INDICA’s Center for Bharatiya Languages presents a conversation with Dr Sivaja Nair on the 16th of December 2022 at IST 1800 hrs in which she will introduce the magnificent Indian thesaurus: the Amarakośa. Dr Nair earned her PhD with a thesis titled The Knowledge Structure in Amarakośa. The Amarakośa, according to Dr Nair, is the most celebrated and authoritative ancient thesaurus of Sanskrit and is a book that an Indian child, one who learns from a traditional education system, memorizes as early as the first year of formal learning. She highlights the fact that though it might appear as a linear list of words, upon closer inspection, it shows a rich organisation of words expressing various relations a word bears with other words, and therefore, when the student of the traditional system studies further, the linear list of words unfolds into a knowledge web. Join us in this conversation to dive deeper into this recitable thesaurus, composed by Amarasiṃha, which truly is a landmark in the history of the Sanskrit language.

Language: Shaping Identity, Reflecting Consciousness, Instigating Conflict

The INDICA Center for Bharatiya Languages presents a conversation with Dr Ramesh Rao, one of the authors of the book Communicating Across Boundaries – The Indian Way, published by INDICA in 2021. Indian philosophers and sages have dealt with the nature of language for thousands of years, and Indian advances in linguistics have been profound and withstood the test of time. Indians reject the idea that language has a physical foundation, and that instead, language is “Consciousness”.  Philosophy of language has always been a part of the general epistemological inquiry in India, and therefore it has led to the search for evidence to verify belief and knowledge. But beyond this inquiry into the depths of our very being, languages, the very many in India, have shaped modern Indian identities. How we speak a language and what language we speak can affect our power and how we are perceived by others. How is it that in some Indian states there is a larger percentage of native language speakers than in other states? What does it say both about the mobility of Indians and the waning of the influence of some languages? What is the reality in India about multilingualism despite the avowed three-language formula? What should we do about the language of instruction? What should be the status of English in India? In this conversation, Ramesh Rao, a Professor of Communication, sketches some of the features of the Indian ‘language-scape,’ and how conflict is generated because of our language identities, choices, and abilities.