Indic sorting, e-texts, earthquakes

aklujkar at aklujkar at
Thu Jul 1 01:20:17 UTC 1993

        1.  A while ago there was an inquiry on the Indology network
regarding a paper in preparation on computerized alphabetic sorting
according to the order found in Indic scripts. Mr. Wakankar was mentioned
as the co-author of the paper.  I do not have the paper,but I happen to
have an address for Mr. Wakankar. Perhaps a letter to him will result in
the acquisition of the (published or unpublished) paper. Here is the
address:  Mr. Lakshman Shridhar Wakankar,  64 Budhwar Peth, Ganapati Chowk,
Opposite Kaware Cold-drink House, Lakshmi Rd., Pune 411002. 
        2. Mr. Wakankar developed a very elegant Naagarii font called
Shridhar, mainly for the IBM-type computers.  This is one of the many
excellent laser fonts developed in India.  The Indian fonts are costly (I
do not have any precise recent information worth reproducing here, but I
have seen many books and booklets beautifully  printed on the computer) and
few users of the Indology network are likely to go for them, given the
variety that is already available outside India.  However, as the font work
done in India has not received the mention it deserves on the Indology
network, I am taking this opportunity to mention it. No survey of fonts
would be complete without taking into account the excellent work
(especially in terms of shapes of letters) done by Indian computer
specialists (often with equipment that was behind the times). With the
reported vigorous entry of Apple Computers in India, we should try to
gether as much information as possible about computer work of Indological
significance that is being carried out in India.  
        3. As early as 1972 I had suggested to the organizers of the first
world Sanskrit conference that an agency which would facilitate the flow of
Indological research work information for Indian scholars as well as for
scholars active outside India should be set up (I had also suggested that
the work of manuscript listing/cataloguing should be immediately switched
to computers -- computers of the type the airlines had then begun to use.).
There is a considerable information gap, particularly in the area of Jain
studies and research published in the vernacular languages of India.  It
would now be most economical to establish such an agency in the form of an
e-mail network.  We should do everything in our power to make e-mail
facilities available to a select Indological centres in India and request
the centres to undertake, in return, primarily the responsibility of
providing bibliographic (including manuscript-related) information. 
        4. While the Sanskrit and Prakrit scholars at Indian institutions
of higher learning have hardly caught up with the computer age (and some
are unfortunately not even willing to consider how computers will assist
their and their institutions' work), the Jain monk-scholars, in my
experience, have shown a very progressive attitude. They are collaborating
with their lay computer experts and producing many important tools of
research. (I should perhaps be able to write more on this in a report I am
thinking of publishing on my tours for manuscripts in India). The
Sharadaben Chimanlal Educational Research Centre, "Darshan,  Opposite
Ra akpur Society, Shahibag, Ahmedabad 380 004, has about 100,000 Prakrit
gaathaas computerised , besides large sections of Jain aagama works and
bibliographies of writings on Jainism.  It recently computer- published 3
vol.s of Jambuvijayaji s catalogue of Patan mss. and is said to have an
IBM-compatible program for Naagar^ sorting. Muni Jinendra-vijaya, whose
work is guided out of Jamnagar, Saurashtra, Gujarat, is in the process of
compiling a cumulative list of manuscripts in known or catalogued Jain
collections. The person assisting him on the computer side is: Mr. Mahendra
Modi, Galaxy Printers, Alankar Chambers, Dhebar Chowk, Rajkot 60 001. Mr.
Modi was looking for a Naagari sorting program for the Macintosh and may
have prevailed upon some computer programmer by now to develop one for him
and for the Muni's work. 
        5. We also had a discussion on the Indology network regarding the
dissemination of e-texts.  While it would be convenient to have certain
standards and uniformity in the preparation of such texts, I think, the
most important thing is to have them in electronic format.  I personally do
not find it as time-consuming to change them from one format to another as
to type them into the computer.  Therefore, the important thing at this
time is to have a list of what is available in computerized form. I myself
have several texts (mostly concerning the grammarian-philosopher
Bhart.r-hari) which I cannot share at present. Even the preliminary
checking has not yet been completed, and the format is that of my font disk
UBC INDIC 1985 or UBC INDIC 1988 (depending on when the input was done). 
It will be extremely confusing for me to change to other formats before my
editions of the computerized works are published. 
        6. There was an inquiry from Irene Joshi concerning accounts and
depictions of earthquakes. One rather well-known historical account is that
found in the Junagadh inscription  of Rudra-daaman. I am sure Prof. Richard
Salomon, who is at the same institution as Irene Joshi, can give precise
bibliographic references.  It  is conventional in Buddhist accounts to
speak of the shaking of the earth whenever a significant event in the life
of a/the Buddha takes place. Perhaps the experts of Buddhist art can
provide information on where such events are depicted.  A third possibility
is isolated passages in the Raaja-tara.ngi.nii text series of Kashmir. 


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