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Tuesday, April 13, 2021

60 years later,Sanskrit dictionary stuck in first letter

This project has already taken over 60 years,and could easily take another 100 years or more.

Written by Anubhuti Vishnoi | New Delhi |
May 17, 2010 4:30:22 am

This project has already taken over 60 years,and could easily take another 100 years or more. Started in 1948,the ambitious Sanskrit to English Dictionary project undertaken by the Deccan College Post Graduate and Research Institute,Pune,is still stuck in the very first alphabet.

While the Centre has ensured that the project is flush with funds,those involved with the project blame the delay on the shortage of manpower.

“There are 27 sanctioned posts for the project. For 20 years now,we have been working with just three staffers. We have been requesting the HRD Ministry to allow us to fill the remaining positions,but the ministry feels we should appoint people on contract,” said Prof Vinayak Bhatta,director of the college and chief editor of the Sanskrit Dictionary project.

“However,for a project of this magnitude and gravity,we require the best of Sanskrit scholars with knowledge of all branches of Sanskrit and with a near decade-long experience in its study. Why will a scholar of that stature join us on contract? At present,with just three editors and another few staffers sanctioned by the Mahrashatra government we have a strength of just 10 people. Of the three editors,one or two are set to retire soon. At this rate how can there be much progress?” added Bhatta,who has been associated with the project since 1978.

“That we are now at letter “A” and have reached words starting with “ap” over the last few decades should not come as a surprise. While we are grateful to the HRD Ministry for the funds granted,we urgently need more talented manpower. What must be kept in mind is that no project can match ours in terms of its historical and linguistic wealth,” said Bhatta.

Admitting that the team is looking at years of mounting work before it can give the world the most comprehensive encyclopaedic language dictionary for the early Aryan language,Bhatta added: “Give me 50-100 scholars and I will finish the project in no time”.

Meanwhile,the HRD ministry is pushing for complete digitisation of the project. Plodding at some 1,540 Sanskrit texts including the Vedas and Upanishads,the Centre has culled out a staggering 1 crore references to various Sanskrit words. These references are jotted down carefully on brittle paper ‘slips’. After a special grant of Rs 5 crore for Deccan College in the Union Budget in 2008,Rs 2.5 crore has been set aside for digitisation of these slips.

Over the last few decades,eight volumes of the dictionary — all dealing with words beginning with the first alphabet — have been published. The HRD Ministry wants these to be digitised as well.

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