If you spend as much time on Twitter as I do, (I’m sorry for you, but) you’ve probably also come across some Indian state official claiming, every now and then, that “Sanskrit is the best language for AI and ML according to NASA” or “Sanskrit is the language of talking computers” or some such equivalent.
Sometime in November last year, a friend and I happened to talk about Sanskrit’s “formal” and mathematical grammar. It made me wonder about these claims: were they propaganda, like so much coming from the BJP today, or was there some truth to it all?
If if it was the former, it seemed like an important piece of information to debunk. After all, these ideas have been making the rounds for years—content on “Sanskrit and AI” swarms the internet—and the BJP hardly needs more material to mount their chauvinistic narratives of Hindu supremacy.
And if it was the latter—if Sanskrit is indeed the best language for AI/ML—what makes it so? Are Indians the only ones using it in such technologies today, or are there others?
Looking for answers to these questions unearthed a long-standing project: one that spans religion, politics, and scientific endeavour in India.