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NEW DELHI, INDIA, April 5, 2001: "Wouldn't it be better if we simply began chatting in it?" quipped Prime Minister Atal Vajpayee at the World Sanskrit Conference held last Thursday. A well-attended conference of Sanskrit lovers and scholars met to discuss music, art, yoga, history and philosophy. The Prime Minister's appeal to popularize the ancient language brought some skepticism from the gathering. However they whole-heartedly supported the leader's promise to provide government funding to publish original manuscripts and to give Sanskrit an equal place in Indian society. Presently the English language has brought India information and technology. "But," said Vajpayee, "It must not take the place of our own languages." One Croatian professor claimed exposure to the Indian ethos via ancient texts helped him overcome grief in the ethnic war and led him to organize relief and humanitarian work. "Western-style capitalism and consumerism is eroding traditions and cultures the world over. Sanskrit has values for India that can check cultural degeneration and teach values to a generation that is taken in by computer games," he said.