Thursday, July 14, 2011

BORI to publish Buddhist literature

BORI to publish Buddhist literature

Through this, the institute will be combating the controversial ‘Brahminical’ image that has remained with them for years
Devidas Deshpande
Posted On Thursday, July 14, 2011 at 05:58:01 AM
The Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute

The Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute (BORI) has embarked on a new chapter in it’s own history, after the 94-year-old institute was in the eye of the storm for a series of controversies. Having faced allegations of being a ‘Brahminical’ institute, the BORI is all set to publish Buddhist literature, countering that claim.

Seven years ago on January 4, 2004, BORI suffered the worst attack the research institute has faced, by the Sambhaji Brigade. The latter alleged that BORI harboured so-called Brahminical ideologues and was involved in defaming heroes of other castes.

For years after the attack, the image remained with the institute. This allegation received further credence by the fact that for years the institute was managed by mainly intellectuals who were Brahmins by caste.

However, recent elections held in the institute have given a sort of facelift to BORI. Members of the new executive consist of non-Brahmin intellectuals like Professor Hari Narke, Professor Sadanand More and Shyam Satpute.

Prof Narke was previously on the executive board as a government representative. This time round however, he was elected in the tri-annual elections held in June and has been elected to the post of vice president. Prof More was re-elected as well.

Dr Maitreyi Deshpande, honourary secretary of BORI, told Pune Mirror, “We are working on the Lexicography of Buddhist Literature. There are other projects in the pipeline as well. For BORI, this is a continous process.” BORI is well known for publishing authentic ancient literature. Especially known are the Critical Edition of the Mahabharata, Descriptive Catalogues of Manuscripts and The Prakrit Dictionary.

The institute has one of the largest collections of rare books and manuscripts spanning over 1,25,000 books and over 28,000 manuscripts covering practically every aspect of Orientology. This collection covers several languages and scripts such as Sanskrit, Prakrit, Indian regional languages, Classical, Asean and European languages.

Speaking to Pune Mirror, Prof Narke said, “The BORI is a institute dedicated to all Oriental studies. It has a treasure trove of Buddhist manuscripts, literature and other books. It is not just an institution for Brahminical or Hinduist studies. In the immediate future, the institute will bring out all sorts of books, including Buddhist literature, to re-establish itself as a place of knowledge.”

•   The institute has over 1,25,000 books and over 28,000 manuscripts covering Orientology

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