Meet Mr. Rajpopat, the brilliant Indian student who solves an age-old Sanskrit puzzle!

A Ph.D. student at the faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies in St. John’s College, Cambridge makes India proud by solving a 2,500-year-old Sanskrit puzzle. Let’s get to know him better.
Indian student solves age-old Sanskrit problem
Indian student solves age-old Sanskrit problem

A 2,500-year-old puzzle was waiting to be solved by someone, but an Indian student put an end to the mystery and successfully solved the age-old Sanskrit puzzle.

The puzzle was a tough one and had baffled scholars since the 5th century BC. Solving such a puzzle is undoubtedly a big achievement, accomplished by 27-year-old Mr. Rishi Atul Rajpopat.


The ancient puzzle

Mr. Rajpopat successfully decoded a text written by Panini, a renowned Sanskrit language master. Panini was a master of the ancient Sanskrit language and lived more than two and a half thousand years ago.


Panini taught a “metarule”. This metarule is interpreted as  "in the event of a conflict between two rules of equal strength, the rule that comes later in the grammar's serial order wins". However, the interpretation often resulted in grammatical errors.


Young and smart, Mr. Rajpopat rejected the traditional interpretation by saying that Panini means that between rules that are applicable to the left and right sides of a word respectively, the scholar wished us to select the rule applicable to the right side. Additionally, he concluded that the scholars' language machine produced words that are grammatically correct with no exceptions.


The student was super elated to touch this milestone. "I had a eureka moment in Cambridge. After nine months of trying to crack this problem, I was almost ready to quit, I was getting nowhere. So I closed the books for a month and just enjoyed the summer, swimming, cycling, cooking, praying, and meditating. Then, begrudgingly I went back to work, and, within minutes, as I turned the pages, these patterns started emerging, and it all started to make sense," he expressed.


The above statement clearly shows the relevance of both consistency and taking a break. Clearly, the quality of perseverance helped the student crack the pattern.


Here’s what the student shares on his LinkedIn profile



Here’s what the student’s professors have said:


No success of a student fails to make his teachers proud. This student too has given a big reason to his professors to feel elated and proud. No wonder the professors were more than happy to share their proud feelings.


Prof Vergiani stated, "My student Rishi has cracked it - he has found an extraordinarily elegant solution to a problem which has perplexed scholars for centuries. This discovery will revolutionize the study of Sanskrit at a time when interest in the language is on the rise."


The ancient language of Sanskrit

Sanskrit is known as the mother of all languages.


While, as per Cambridge University, the language is only spoken in India, by around 25,000 people out of a population of around one billion, the language indeed carries all its charm till now.


While the world is on the road of progress, there are some wonderful facts about Sanskrit language that people often miss to consider. Firstly, Sanskrit allows one to express oneself in fewer words.


This means that the words hold great power in the language. Moreover, the language has a greatly organized grammatical structure.


If we talk about the phonetics, the consonants and the vowels are arranged in a smart and scientific pattern.


No wonders the creators of the language are regarded as great scholars of the time.

What may come out as a surprising fact is that many of the English language words are actually derived from Sanskrit. 


Interested to know some of them?


Well, the English word “bangle” has been derived from the Sanskrit term “bangri”. The words ``mosquito”, “camphor”, and “sugar” are derived from Sanskrit terms ``mashaka”, “karpura”, and “sakara”, respectively.


Another surprising fact about the language is that it has the largest vocabulary. 


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