The recent initiative of offering Mahabharata courses online by city-based Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute (BORI) found a mention in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Mann ki Baat on Sunday. Modi lauded the institute’s effort to digitise ancient textual literary works and poularise them in the global community.
Established in 1917, BORI conducts research in Sanskrit, Prakrits, Indian regional languages, Asian and European languages and was established to commemorate contributions of Ramkrishna Gopal Bhandarakar, India’s foremost pioneer of scientific Orientology studies.
Among the most prominent works at BORI is the publication of the ‘Critical Edition of Mahabharata’, completed over five decades. The project, which spanned 1919 to 1966, comprises 18 parvas, more than 89,000 verses and 19 volumes. The project required experts to refer to 1,259 manuscripts.
During the past few months, the 104-year-old institute starte online courses of the epic along with courses on a few subjects in Vedic studies. This was started with an effort to reach out to the masses, including international audiences, through online platforms.
The Prime Minister said, “Recently, my attention has been drawn to an interesting endeavor. This effort is to make our ancient texts and cultural values popular not only in India but all over the world. In Pune, there is a centre named Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute. This institute has started an online course to acquaint people of other countries with the importance of Mahabharata.”
Now, these courses are getting a growing following and demand. BORI even organised a special course for the Indian diaspora in the US.
” … You would be amazed to know that although this course has been started now, the content being taught started taking shape over a 100 years ago. When the Institute started a course with regard to this, it received tremendous response. I am discussing this grand initiative so that people become aware of how the various aspects of our traditions are being presented in a modern manner. Innovative methods are also being adopted to ensure its benefits reach people based across seven seas,” Modi said.