In another highly symbolic move, the Uttarakhand government has ordered District Magistrates to begin adding Sanskrit to all nameplates for government offices throughout the state. The current BJP government made Sanskrit Uttarakhand’s second official language after Hindi, the first and only state to do so in India. This is in contrast to the disregard shown towards promoting the local languages, Garhwali and Kumaoni, in any shape or form in the new state.
Coming at a time when the entire state machinery should be geared towards disaster relief and rehabilitation, the focus on Sanskrit as well as other political shuffles within the cabinet reveals much about the priorities of the incumbent government. As a pet project of the current CM, adding Sanskrit does find favour with the various holy men who are busy transforming Uttarakhand into their personal fiefdoms and pocket boroughs. However, it does little to support the unique cultural and linguistic character of the state. Those looking for leadership in these areas, must again look elsewhere for the promotion of Garhwali and Kumaoni culture that are for more threatened than the All-India Sanskriti.