The recent initiative to offer Mahabharata courses online by the city-based Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute (BORI) found mention in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Mann ki Baat on Sunday. Modi praised the institute’s efforts to digitize ancient textual literary works and popularize them in the global community.
Founded in 1917, BORI conducts research in Sanskrit, Prakrits, Indian, Asian and European regional languages and was established to commemorate the contributions of Ramkrishna Gopal Bhandarakar, India’s foremost pioneer of scientific studies of orientology.
Among BORI’s most important works is the publication of the “Critical Edition of the Mahabharata”, completed over five decades. The project, which extended from 1919 to 1966, comprises 18 parvas, more than 89,000 verses and 19 volumes. The project asked experts to refer to 1,259 manuscripts.
In recent months, the 104-year-old institute has started online epic courses as well as courses in a few Vedic studies topics. It started with an effort to reach the masses, including the international public, through online platforms.
The Prime Minister said: “Recently my attention was drawn to an interesting business. This effort aims to make our ancient texts and our cultural values popular not only in India but all over the world. In Pune, there is a center called Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute. This institute has launched an online course to familiarize people from other countries with the importance of the Mahabharata.
Now these courses are more and more attended and in demand. BORI even organized a special course for the Indian diaspora in the United States.
”… You would be amazed to know that although this course has started now, the taught content began to take shape over 100 years ago. When the Institute started a course on this subject, it received a tremendous welcome. I am discussing this great initiative to make people aware of how various aspects of our traditions are presented in a modern way. Innovative methods are also adopted to ensure that its benefits reach the people based on Seven Seas, ”Modi said.