Sanskrit Encyclopaedia Project of Deccan College in Pune



The work on Sanskrit Encyclopaedia began in 1948 AD and only one-tenth of the Encyclopaedia has been completed. Recently the 26th edition of the encyclopedic dictionary of Sanskrit on historical principles was released at Deccan College in Pune. The main aim of the Sanskrit Encyclopaedia is to provide the user all the relevant information about Sanskrit words such as their earliest occurrence, the entire range of their meanings, the changes in their meanings with time as well as their status as current or obsolete.
Those involved in the project are of the hope that with new technology available the project will be completed in near future. The mammoth project covers spatial and temporal dimensions to comparative and historical linguistics,, Sanskrit of inscriptional texts and the entire range of Sanskrit texts on historical principles.
The head of department of Sanskrit and Lexicography, Deccan College, Prof JD Sathe, who is also the current coordinator for the project, said, “When the project began in 1948, as many as 30 pandits worked for 25 years to form the scriptorium for the Encyclopaedia. They studied almost 1,500 texts in detail and extracted various words to be included in the Encyclopaedia. It is a mammoth task which takes a lot of effort and research work. However, with the use of computers and technology, we are hoping to speed up the process. We are using the technique of e-preservation of the datas and using interlinking to simplify the process.”
The pandits came up with more than one crore slips, each containing important words, their citations and the books they belong to. The next step is to assemble all of these slips together in a chronological order and edit them. “We recently came out with the 26 th edition of the Encyclopaedia but have only covered about seven hundred thousand slips till now,” added Sathe.
On the challenges that the team has been facing, Sathe said, “The biggest challenge which lies before us is the lack of sufficient staff. There are a total of 47 posts which had been formed specially for this work when the project had started. But today, only 15 people are working on the project. Apart from that, we need more new computers so that we can work uninterrupted.”