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Sanskrit Language has been the most important medium in lending continuity to Indian civilization. In its heyday it was spoken and used in all regions of India including the Dravidian south. While Tamil has maintained a more or less independent literary tradition, all other languages in India have taken freely from Sanskrit vocabulary and their literature is permeated with the Sanskrit heritage. Sanskrit is perhaps the oldest language in the world to be recorded. Classical Sanskrit which developed from the Vedic held sway from about 500 BC to about 1000 AD. In Independent India it is listed among the languages of the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution though it is not the official language of any state. The hymns of the Rig Veda are the seeds of Sanskrit literature. Orally handed down for long, these hymns not only served the purpose of religion but also as a common literary standard for the Aryan groups in India. After 1000 BC there developed an extensive prose literature devoted to ritual matters-the Brahamanas; but in these too there are examples of story-telling, terse and abrupt in style. The next milestone in the history of Sanskrit is the Grammar of Panini—the Ashtadhyayi. The form of the Sanskrit language as described by him became accepted universally and was fixed for all time. Probably, around the time Panini was codifying the Sanskrit language, the practice of writing began.
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