Encyclopaedia Mahabharata
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Encyclopaedia Mahabharata

Scholars are working on a project to make the epic Mahabharata available to a global audience.

india Updated: Nov 14, 2005 13:39 IST

Hundreds of scholars from India and abroad are working on a multi-billion rupee project to make the epic Mahabharata available to a global audience. The 18-volume bilingual encyclopaedia of the epic, in English and Sanskrit, is expected to be completed in five years.

The project undertaken by a research institute, Mahabharata Samshodhana Pratisthanam, is being funded by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD), corporates and institutions in a public-private partnership. “The encyclopaedia will cover every aspect of the Hindu epic, including the Gita, the sermon delivered by Lord Krishna to Arjuna on the battleground,” Ramchandra Budhilal, a Wipro software specialist associated with the project said. Mahabharata is an allegorical tale woven around the story of a conflict between two rival dynasties the Pandavas and the Kauravas, around 3,000 BC. It also provides a battlefield setting for the Bhagavad Gita, the scriptural poem that lays out a code of conduct for Hindus. To kick-start the project, the city-based Indic Research Foundation, promoted by Wipro, IBM and Intel, is organising a nine-day Mahabharata Utsav that began on Sunday.

As part of the project, President APJ Abdul Kalam will dedicate a state-of-the-art digital mobile laboratory (DML) for manuscripts and heritage on November 21. The DML is a pioneering effort to conserve and digitise age-old manuscripts scattered all over the country. The hi-tech lab will be taken across the country and also to the neighbouring countries of Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. During the festival, select manuscripts and artefacts from Kurukshetra’s Sri Krishna Museum and Dwarka will be exhibited.

Based on the epic, a series of cultural events including story-telling and ballet by the Indonesian troupe Sekar Budaya Nusantara will be held during the nine-day festival. Academic events during the festival will include a national symposium onit by scholars from India and abroad.

First Published: Nov 14, 2005 13:39 IST