Epic Project to Rediscover Mahabharata


Sri Krsna, Dronacarya and the Pandavas

Nov 12, BANGALORE (IANS) — Mahabharata Samshodhana Pratisthanam, an eight-year-old research foundation, is embarking on a five-year project to publish a bilingual, 18-volume "Encyclopaedia of Mahabharata" for the global audience.

To be funded by the ministry of human resources development (HRD), corporates and institutions in a public-private partnership, the epic project will include a commentary of "Mahabharata Lakshaalankara" by Vadiraja Thirtha, who compiled it from 500-year-old manuscripts.

To kick-start the multi-billion rupee project, the city-based Indic Research Foundation, promoted by techies of global IT firms such as Wipro, IBM and Intel, is organising a nine-day Mahabharata Utsav or festival beginning Sunday.

"Hundreds of scholars from India and abroad will be working on the project, which will be the first of its kind on a global scale," said Ramchandra Budhilal, a Wipro software specialist associated with the project.

"The encyclopaedia in English and Sanskrit will cover every aspect of the Hindu epic, including Gita, the sermon delivered by Lord Krishna to Arjuna on the battleground," Budhilal told IANS.

As part of the project, President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam will dedicate a state-of-the-art digital mobile laboratory (DML) for manuscripts and heritage Nov 21.

The DML is a pioneering effort to conserve and digitise age-old manuscripts scattered all over the country. The research foundation will closely work with the national mission for manuscripts to preserve and digitise the manuscripts and palm leaves containing ancient material and classical literature.

The hi-tech lab will be taken across the country and also to the neighbouring countries - Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

"The objective of the entire exercise is to contextualise India's ancient wisdom and knowledge for improving the quality of life across the world. The festival is a conscious effort to reach out the common folk as all the facets of life are depicted in the epic," Budhilal said.

During the cultural event, select manuscripts and original artefacts from Kurukshetra's Sri Krishna Museum and Dwaraka will be displayed in the exhibition.

Centred around the Hindu epic, a series of events, including story-telling, classical dance, theatre, puppetry and ballet by the Indonesian troupe Sekar Budaya Nusantara will be conducted during the nine-day long festival.

"We are also displaying the world's longest canvas painting of Mahabharata, measuring about 1.7 km during the event, besides traditional and contemporary paintings of the epic and its main personalities," Budhilal said.

Academic events during the festival will include a national symposium on the epic by scholars from India and abroad.


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