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Sanskrit, like Latin / Greek, is one of the few truly cosmopolitan languages. You could be Abhinavagupta from Kashmir, or yAmunAcArya from Srirangam - the language is the same

Perhaps the only Indian language that transcends geography and ethnicity
Secondly - Sanskrit makes nearly all of Indian intellectual history accessible to you, which would otherwise be shrouded

There is no way to understand the evolution of Indian thought without knowing Sanskrit
3. Sanskrit unites Indians, by softening the vernacular divisions

A Tamil may roll his eyes at hearing the Hindi word Baras, but he will stop viewing it as "alien" once he realizes that Baras is merely the Prakrit form of "Varsham" - a Sanskrit word that he uses everyday
Sanskrit historically made the Idea of India possible by creating a common intellectual life

Eg - There is a small community of about a million or so in Tamil Nadu, to which I belong, founded by 11th century saint Sri Ramanuja...

But Ramanuja's philosophy, which defines this community, was based on his unique commentary on two v old Sanskrit texts - Brahma Sutras and Bhagavad Gita, which weren't Tamil texts, but texts written in the North Indian plain
So communities and sects in India define themselves based on how they interpret and relate to a common set of canonical Sanskrit works - be it Upanishads, Brahma Sutras, the two epics - texts which transcend geography

In fact nobody knows where exactly these texts were composed
And Indians are never really interested in figuring out - Which state does Gita belong to? Where was Manu Smrti composed? Where was Bhagavata Purana composed?

The texts belong to all of India, they have never assumed a regional flavor...

And that's because of Sanskrit
The language itself has a frozen character, which transcends the vagaries of space and time.

So by reading a piece of text, you can't tell where is the author from
And it is precisely this cosmopolitan character of the texts (made possible by the language), that made all of India interested in these works, thus creating a common Indian discourse and a common Indian life

It is precisely the reason India is a nation. But Europe is not
If one studies European history, one realizes there was always this idea of Christendom and one Europe, as long as the intellectual life was conducted in Latin & Greek

But once vernaculars took over post 16th/17th cen, the idea of Europe suffered and regional nationalisms arose
Some liberals may argue -

It is not Sanskrit that defines India, but the British Raj...Eg What brought a Kashmiri like Nehru converse with a Tamil like Rajaji was English, and not Sanskrit
They may have a point...But English could unite them only because an underlying ideological unity, at least among the elites, already existed long before the British set foot - thanks to the influence of ideas articulated using the Sanskrit language over the past 2500+ years
One simple way of illustrating this is to take the name of the person who posed the question on Sanskrit in the first tweet where I quoted her -

"Dhanya Rajendran"
Both these words "Dhanya" and "Rajendra" are Sanskrit words. They are not North Indian or South Indian words. They are not Hindi words. Nor are they Tamil...

They speak to all of India
The word "Dhanya" means fortunate, lucky...

Rajendra - means Indra among Rajas - the one who is the greatest among kings...

These are not difficult Sanskrit words - the name would be comprehensible to all of India from Kargil to Kanyakumari - across caste lines
Studying the names of people is one way of appreciating how Sanskrit makes people feel less alien to each other, by making the names of people mutually comprehensible...

That may seem like a small thing. But it is a big deal
Someone recently mocked my name "Shrikanth Krishnamachary" as a madrasi name

But it isn't

Shrikanth means Maha Vishnu - a deity worshipped as the Supreme being by v large sections of India

Krishnamacharya - refers to the acharya who taught us the Gita - Lord Krishna himself
So to characterize these names as "Madrasi" or "Punjabi" is to engage in untruth...

These are cosmopolitan names which ensure the identity of people transcend geography and language
Postscript 2 : For those who seek an empirical basis for the assertion that Sanskritic heritage unites India more effectively than the legacies of British Raj - here's my take -
The "India" created by British India, broke up in 1947. Burma seceded in 1935. Pakistan in 1947

So notwithstanding the common "Raj" legacy, the areas of British Raj that did not adequately relate to the "Sanskritic heritage broke away...
What remained however are those regions of India that could relate to, or were majorly influenced by that heritage...

To this day, the major problem areas challenging the idea of India are precisely those regions that are not adequately sanskritized - i.e Kashmir, North East
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