[INDOLOGY] April 29, 6:30 pm IST | Dominik Wujastyk, 'The Importance of Sanskrit Manuscripts in Understanding the History of Science'

Sudha Gopalakrishnan sudha.gopalakrishnan at iicdelhi.in
Tue Apr 26 07:01:01 UTC 2022

Dear Colleagues

Greetings from the International Research Division, India International
Centre (IIC), New Delhi.

I am glad to introduce you to IIC's new initiative called *SAMHiTA: South
Asian Manuscript Histories and Textual Archive*, and to invite you to the
first of our monthly lecture series, *Kriti-SAMHiTA.*

On Friday, 29 April 2022, 6:30 pm IST, we have Dominik Wujastyk speaking
about the importance of Sanskrit manuscripts in understanding the history
of science in South Asia, with reference to the Suśruta Project. Below
are links
for registration and for the YouTube live streaming/recording.

An introduction to the SAMHiTA project follows. I very much look forward to
everyone's advice, ideas and participation.

Best regards,

Sudha Gopalakrishnan

*Kriti-SAMHiTA: The Plurality of Indian Knowledge Systems*

Inaugural Lecture

Friday 29 April 2022, 6:30 pm IST

*The Importance of Sanskrit Manuscripts in Understanding the History of

*Inaugural Remarks:* Shri K.N. Shrivastava, Director, IIC

*Speaker*: Prof. Dominik Wujastyk, Saroj and Prem Singhmar Chair of
Classical Indian Polity and Society, Department of History and Classics,
University of Alberta

*Chair*: Dr Sudha Gopalakrishnan, Executive Director, International
Research Division, IIC

The largest and intellectually most important collections of Indian
manuscripts are to be found in India and Nepal.  Many of these manuscripts
provide unique insights into the history of Indian mathematics, medicine
and other sciences.  Most of the knowledge we depend on for our
understanding of these sciences was generated during the 20th century and
itself depended on printed books created in the late 19th century and the
decades before Independence. These century-old printed Sanskrit texts are
reprinted again and again right up to the present time, giving a false
impression of being contemporary, while the manuscripts are generally
ignored. Yet the manuscripts hold the potential to give us much more
up-to-date, accurate and novel information about the history of Indian

There are four major problems that face a scholar who wishes to study the
manuscript heritage: discovery, access, interpretation and
dissemination. Yet modern developments in software and Digital Humanities
provide important solutions to these problems.  This lecture will discuss
these issues with reference to a research project on the medical classic
called *The Compendium of Suśruta*.  The discovery of a 1000-year-old
manuscript allows us to plot the changes the work has undergone between the
ninth century and today, but the discovery brings with it many practical

*Professor Dominik Wujastyk* holds the Singhmar Chair in Classical Indian
Society and Polity at the University of Alberta, Canada. After completing a
BSc in Physics, he took masters and doctoral degrees in Sanskrit from
Oxford. He has worked extensively with Sanskrit manuscripts and on Indian
social and intellectual history, including traditions of debate. His
expertise ranges from Sanskrit grammar, to the history of Indian medicine
and science, and the history of yoga. Among his books are, *A Handlist of
Sanskrit and Prakrit Manuscripts, Metarules of Paninian Grammar *and *The
Roots of Ayurveda*. He founded the INDOLOGY online discussion forum in
1990, and was co-founder of the journal, *History of Science in South Asia*.
In 2020, Professor Wujastyk was awarded a four-year Canadian SSHRC Insight
Grant for the Suśruta Project (http://sushrutaproject.org) that is
investigating the early history of medicine in South Asia.

*Registration link:*


*YouTube Link:*



*SAMHiTA* (‘compilation’/‘compendium’ in Sanskrit) is an initiative of the
India International Centre Delhi, to consolidate metadata on South Asian
manuscripts in collections outside India, which would be made available on
an online platform accessible to scholars worldwide. Select manuscripts
will be digitized, published online, and transcribed in the form of
searchable texts.

The project is being steered by Dr Sudha Gopalakrishnan, Executive Director
of the International Research Division of the IIC, and Founder Director of
India’s National Mission for Manuscripts (2003–07).

In March 2022, SAMHiTA started a *12-month pilot* to establish models for
cooperation, through cataloguing and digitization of collections at four
institutions in Denmark, Nepal and the UK. The pilot is supported by the
Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India, and has the
participation of many distinguished scholars including several on this list.

IIC is partnering with *PANDiT* <http://www.panditproject.org/>:
Prosopographical Database of Indic Texts and Records to compile and
cross-reference metadata, and with the *Sanskrit Research Institute,
Auroville* <https://sri.auroville.org/>  to map repositories with holdings
of Indic manuscripts. Our initial database is based on the bibliographic
survey carried out by Biswas and Prajapati (1998)
<http://n2t.net/ark:/13960/t2q616h10>, and the Sanskrit catalogues
<https://nextcloud.computecanada.ca/index.php/s/yfwp8XFRtmnQ8Mr> compiled by
Dominik Wujastyk.

We would be delighted to hear from members of this list who wish to partner
with SAMHiTA, and grateful for any leads to institutional repositories in
different countries, in the form of links to/electronic copies of hand-lists,
catalogues or  bibliographic surveys. We particularly welcome names
of institutional representatives we might contact.


Sudha Gopalakrishnan, PhD
Executive Director
International Research Division
India International Centre
40, Max Mueller Marg, New Delhi 110 003
Phone: +91 11 24641457; 2460 9368
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