Sanskrit and history aficionados will now be able to witness the Deccan College Postgraduate and Research Institute’s department of Sanskrit and Lexicography’s ongoing work on its project, ‘An encyclopaedic dictionary of Sanskrit on historical principles’ in an ‘open day’ programme to be held on September 24, 2022. The programme promises to be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for students and teachers to understand the workings of such a unique project.
Sanhita Joshi, coordinator, open day, and editorial assistant, an encyclopaedic dictionary of Sanskrit on historical principles, department of Sanskrit and Lexicography, said, “This project, ‘An encyclopaedic dictionary of Sanskrit’, which is the world’s biggest dictionary, is an ongoing one at the department of Sanskrit and Lexicography, Deccan college. This monumental project began in 1948 under the leadership of Dr Sumitra Mangesh Katre, a renowned Indologist and linguist. For 25 years, various pandits, shastris and scholars extracted words (vocables) from over 1,500 Sanskrit books belonging to 62 knowledge disciplines of Sanskrit literature. These are stored in the form of reference slips (20 million slips) at the scriptorium.”
“The ‘open day’ programme will comprise a one-hour tour of ‘an encyclopaedic dictionary of Sanskrit’ along with a visit to the scriptorium and editorial hall. The programme aims to introduce this huge and distinct encyclopaedia of Sanskrit to visitors, and demonstrate and promote India’s intellectual heritage hidden in Sanskrit literature. The idea behind keeping an ‘open day’ is to introduce people to this humongous project where the world’s biggest dictionary is in the making, and acquaint people with India’s intellectual heritage, and make them understand how a dictionary is made and what steps are involved in it,” Joshi said.
The dictionary has references from over 1,500 books spread across 62 knowledge disciplines of Sanskrit literature such as the Vedas, Vedant, Darshana, Mathematics, Agriculture, Chemistry, Architecture, Dramaturgy and others. The references have been collected and stored in the form of slips in the scriptorium, which is the only one of its kind in the country and world. So far, 35 volumes of this dictionary have been published and the 36th volume is under publication. ‘Open day’ has four time slots during which people can view the makings of the dictionary in groups of not more than 25.