A village in the southern state of Karnataka where most residents speak Sanskrit is in focus at a time when the Indian government's insistence on promoting the ancient language has sparked a debate over the role it plays in the lives of people in the country now. The BBC Hindi's Imran Qureshi reports from the village.
Mattur, in Shimoga district, about 300km (186 miles) from the state capital, Bangalore, appears quite oblivious of the raging debate in India over therecent government order to replace German with Sanskrit in central schools.
Here, ordinary shopkeepers and agricultural labourers speak in Sanskrit - or at least understand it. Most children too speak the language fluently.
The phrases most heard on the streets here are "katham aasthi" (Sanskrit for how are you?) and "aham gachchami" (I am going).
Professor MB Srinidhi, a resident of Mattur, says the current controversy is unnecessary.
"Just like the European languages are spoken in Europe, we also need to speak in Sanskrit. The interesting aspect is that Sanskrit is a language that will help in understanding not just Indian languages but also German or French," he told BBC Hindi.karnataka ] [ sanskrit ]