Lithuania’s Ambassador to India Diana Mickeviciene on Monday said her country takes pride in having a close connection with the Sanskrit language and urged that more research should be done. “Actually it’s a recognised, scientific fact that our language, which is my native tongue, Lithuanian is the closest living sister language of Sanskrit. We don’t know how it happened, so, our idea is to research it — make it more known. It’s a pretty known fact in Lithuania, we take pride in this — having this close connection. But, it’s not so known in India, so our intention was to inform the people. Several years ago, our Embassy published this dictionary — very symbolic, dictionary of 108 words which are identical in Sanskrit and in Lithuanian languages. They are very basic words like – Madhu, Deva, Agni,” Mickeviciene told ANI.
Lithuanian and Sanskrit Languages are some of the oldest in the world and share great similarities. Lithuanian Embassy in association with Vilnius University and Lithuanian Language Institute has published a dictionary of 108 words in Lithuanian and Sanskrit which sound and mean the same.
“These are very primary, primordial — you know when humans start speaking names like fire, heaven or god, which shows that the connection is not superficial. It’s not just easy borrowing from one to another, but probably a very deep down relationship which I think needs to be researched and our idea is in fact to continue the research — like to find an Indian scholar of Sanskrit who will take interest in Lithuanian language– to pair them up with Lithuanian scholars of Sanskrit, so that they could sit together and do something much more. We can easily have 1008 words and even more identical words,” she added.
Mickeviciene has launched a new initiative that highlights the linguistic similarities between Sanskrit and Lithuanian.
Speaking in Hindi highlighting the relationship between India and Lithuania and her love for the Sanskrit language, she said that it’s difficult for her to delve into serious topics, but would like to say that she studied Sanskrit for two years.
“I myself studied Sanskrit for two years and I know that it’s far from just words, its grammar is quite related. So, very big similarities, conjugation of verbs and declinations of nouns, deep down its very structural connect,” said the Lithuanian envoy.
“In our universities, these are the language of scriptures and my study dealt with reading, understanding and translating Sanskrit but not speaking. I can talk in Hindi, I learnt Hindi 2-3 times and forgot it. I came to India this time with serious intention to learn Hindi and within six months I think that I can give a full interview in Hindi,” she added.
To further showcase this linguistic similarity Lithuanian Embassy in New Delhi has initiated a street art project in collaboration with Delhi Street Art, the Harcourt Butler school in Delhi and the winner of the Young Lithuanian Artist Talent Award, Linas Kaziulionis.
The most common day-to-day Sanskrit-Lithuanian words like Sapna, Madhu, Agni, Deva in both Devanagari and Lithuanian script are being painted on the outer wall of the school in the colourful composition depicting windows with shutters in the traditional Lithuanian style and pattern, offering a glimpse into mysterious historical connection between Lithuania and India. The selection of the words is meant to appeal to the understanding of any passing-by reader.
“Today we have unveiled a piece of street start which we have asked our artist who came from Lithuania and worked here for a week to depict that connection, to give a message to the passer-by in the street, so he stops and wonders — what is this all about and probably take a deeper interest. So, he decorated the wall with windows with a very traditional Lithuanian window–colourful window frames, also a number of basic words which are identical to our language. So, I think, what we wanted to do is to use art, especially, street art as a medium to pass that message of historical connect, the message of friendship, as I was saying to say — Dosti ka nishaan, hamari dosti ka nishaan aapke liye,” added Mickeviciene.
Talking about the friendship between the two countries Mickeviciene said, “It’s probably easier for us to emphasize that we may be far away in the north, but we may be also very closely related so we can be friends, we are friends, and we can be fostering a closer relationship in culture. In economics, and also in business. I think it’s usually important that we bring it forward to not just in culture, but to all the areas of mutual interest.”
She also expressed her fondness for the Hindi language and stated that black and white movies of actor Raj Kapoor are what she liked example ‘Awara’ and in recent times ‘3 idiots’ has impressed her.
Speaking in Hindi as a sign of friendship and how important is Hindi as a language between the two countries, she told, “Next month Indian Embassy will be established in my capital and I hope for more possibilities of Hindi language. We would like to popularise it and strengthen the relationship.”
The ambassador stressed both countries can definitely increase that influence in popularizing Hindi in Lithuania and said, “It’s one of the great languages of the world that so many people so many millions or hundreds of millions of people speak. So I will definitely be advising and helping your newly established embassy to work on that, or the influence when movies but I think it’s much more than movies in the poetry in any literature and just Hindi as a language of friendship of communication that we can talk about popularizing in Lithuania.”