1,464 books, 74 years and counting: How the world’s largest Encyclopaedic Sanskrit Dictionary is taking shape

Source: The post is based on the article “1,464 books, 74 years and counting: How the world’s largest Encyclopaedic Sanskrit Dictionary is taking shape” published in Indian Express on 26th September 2022

What is the News?

Deccan College Post-Graduate and Research Institute in Pune, Maharashtra is hosting an Open Day for the general public to witness its ongoing Encyclopedia of Sanskrit dictionary Project.

About Encyclopedia of Sanskrit dictionary Project

Started by: Linguist and Sanskrit Professor SM Katre, founder of India’s oldest Department of Modern Linguistics in Deccan College conceived this project in 1948.

– The current members of the project are a team of about 22 faculty and researchers of Sanskrit.

Features of the project: The dictionary contains words in alphabetical order. It follows historic principles in stating the meaning. 

– For example, the word beginning with the letter ‘ अ ‘, like Agni will have all the citations from Sanskrit texts starting with Ṛig Veda and the references from the texts following Ṛig veda, chronologically arranged. This helps a reader to understand the historical development of the meaning of the word.

Published volumes: Thirty-five volumes have been published as part of this project. These volumes consist of references from 62 knowledge disciplines restored in the Sanskrit language and trace the language’s linguistic developments right from Rigveda to Hasyarnava (1850 AD).

Software used: The first volume took three years to be published in 1976. But technological intervention and an exclusive software with a font named KoshaSHRI have quickened the process.

Significance: The encyclopedia dictionary of Sanskrit will be the world’s biggest dictionary.

– For comparison, the Oxford English Dictionary with 20 volumes and 2.91 lakh word entries so far remain among the most popularly used dictionaries. 

– On the other hand, the Encyclopedia Sanskrit Dictionary, once ready, will be three times larger. The 35 volumes published so far contain about 1.25 lakh vocables (word).

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