But now I am taking a 180 degree detour from my established approach to how others contributed to India and how others influenced us! First and foremost which comes to my mind is Herman Gundert,a German. But for him I would not have used my mother tongue Malayalam the way I am! We are that much indebted to him. He introduced the punctuation marks- comma, full stop, question mark , semi colon and colon to our language Malayalam, the least of his contributions for us !! As a foreigner he came, learned our language and contributed to improve our knowledge of our language!
How a German happened to contribute to our regional language, culture and society long back? How much he contributed to growth of Malayalam , I would leave to experts in that field but it remains a fact that Kerala is one of the the most literate states in India today which is on par with Washington DC which is ranked as the most literate US city!
Please read now... Thank you Gundert.. Thank you Germany
Surprisingly when it comes to Malayalam language , even one's religious influence has little effect . That's why Malayali Muslims use their mother tongue Malayalam, unlike their counter parts in other states who prefers Urdu. Christians also prefer to use Malayalam unlike theirs in Goa,Mangalore or elsewhere who would go after English than their mother tongues! In fact the common language Malayalam binds the Kerala society to one and has strengthened integration of various communities and cultures over the centuries.
Keralites expect expatriate communities from Gujarat or Punjab settled in the state to use Malayalam while the most of the Keralites who go to other states and abroad would even prefer to speak Malayalam in public and that too loud when met !! At the same time there are some Keralites in the state or abroad who prefer to use only English because they wrongly think it is superior to do so . Over the years I have seen many children are trained to use English as 'mother tongue' although their mothers may not be speaking good English!! Strangely this peculiarity could be found only with Keralites in the world as well!
It is said that there are more than just similarities between German and Sanskrit languages. I understand that 'Shakunthala' the Indian epic written by Kalidasa in Sanskrit is translated to German as back as in 1791, which was a 'hit' those days having immensely appreciated by a number of German writers including Goethe.Another German scholar Eduard Roeer translated Rig-Veda to German in the eighteenth century.
In the modern times the 'swastika' which was logo of the erstwhile Nazi party in Germany which is banned now has the origin in India . Unfortunately it became synonymous with the Nazi party and as such it is looked down. From the Indus Valley civilization time to this day 'Swastika' is related to all 'Dharmic ' religions- Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism and used as an auspicious sign!