Pune-based BORI offers online access to rare ancient books

Pune-based BORI offers online access to rare ancient books

Pune: In good news for lovers of antiquity, the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute (BORI) in Pune is offering online access to some very rare books housed in the institute. The institute is also transforming its online courses in languages, philosophy, science, arts, and medicine, among others, and will develop a mobile application for people who are interested in the courses.

Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman will inaugurate the initiative on Wednesday.

BORI has digitised 20,000 books and 14,000 ancient manuscripts out of the total 28,000 manuscripts till now from Sanskrit, Prakrit, Urdu, Arabic, Persian, Devnagari, Kannada, etc. Ten thousand rare books, over 100 years old, and the digitised manuscripts will be available to the public on its official website.

“It’s noteworthy that this treasure will now be open to the public. People can access it in the library section of BORI’s website. This online platform is a first of its kind experiment,” said Bhupal Patwardhan, chairman of BORI’s executive board. The institute has over 1.50 lakh books on various subjects.

Shailesh Kshirsagar, a researcher of history of Vedic science, has been studying Vedic mathematics over the last few years. He and a group of researchers often visit BORI to study and take notes from rare books and manuscripts on the subject.

“Now we will have direct access online, which will help us study at any time and from anywhere,” said Kshirsagar.

While some courses are free, others will come at a small fee.

Some of the institute’s oldest rare books are from 1813. “Apart from this, there is the first edition of the Rigveda Samhita, translated by philologist Max Muller, into German,” he added.

“We want to reach out to people across the globe who are interested in studying and researching our culture and its diversity. The courses run for around 100 hours. We had the content, which had to be edited curated and validated for the online platform,” Patwardhan said.

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