Shukla 13, Vik. Samvat 2072.Yugabda 5117: May 1, 2015


-1. FESTIVALS:  New Year in Cambodia - Thailand - Laos and Myanmar 2. NEPAL EARTHQUAKE RELIEF
3. BEIJING PULLS UP PLA OVER BHARAT'S SWIFT RESCUE OPERATIONS 4. SRI RAVI SHANKAR'S YOGA SESSION INSPIRES EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT
5. BIG TEMPLE CHARIOT FESTIVAL HELD AFTER 100 YEARS 6. APPEAL: SEWA INTERNATIONAL BHARAT (SIB)
7. NEPAL EARTHQUAKE: PASHUPATINATH TEMPLE REMAINS UNHARMED 8. AADHAAR WORLD'S LARGEST BIOMETRIC ID SYSTEM
9. BHARATIYA-ORIGIN SOLDIER AWARDED PREZ MEDAL IN ISRAEL 10. FIRST TIME POWER GENERATION CROSSES ONE TRILLION UNIT MARK
11. ONLINE VISA APPLICATIONS FOR PAK HINDUS 12. RESOLVE TO CREATE A CASTELESS SOCIETY - DR KRISHNA GOPAL
13. BHARAT TEST FIRES NUCLEAR-CAPABLE BALLISTIC MISSILE 14. YASHWANT SINHA GETS HIGHEST FRENCH HONOUR
15. UP RESIDENTS COLLECT MONEY FOR PAK HINDU TEMPLE 16. BHARATIYA -ORIGIN TECHIE SHARES PULITZER PRIZE
17. 'NEELA HAI ASMAAN': CAMERON WOOS BHARATIYA VOTERS IN HINDI 18. MILIBAND PERFORMS AARTI IN UK TEMPLE
19. SHRI VISHWA NIKETAN FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Articles:

BROWSE OR SEARCH, IN SANSKRIT!

WHERE SANSKRIT MEETS COMPUTER SCIENCE


1. FESTIVALS:  New Year in Cambodia - Thailand - Laos and Myanmar Among Southeast Asia nation, there are four countries celebrate New Year Day in April each year for three or five days, Cambodia, Thailand, Laos and Myanmar. As common sense, New Year Day celebration is 'Washing or Replacing old and bad things with new and good things'. What we are seeing as the popularity for today is "Water throwing game",  is the image of the New Year celebration, the far away meaning from the original celebration.

Cambodia: In Cambodia, New Year Day is called Khmer New Year "Enter New Year", is the most important public holiday in Cambodia. Cambodian people use this occasion as the good day to meet their family and enjoy the fun time with Khmer traditional games, dancing and other attracting activities.

Thailand: In Thailand, New Year Day is called Songkran 'Thai'. Songkran is also known as 'Water festival', the traditional water pouring, means washing away all of their sins and the bad and is sometimes filled with fragrant herbs when celebrated in the traditional manner.

Laos: In Laos, New Year Day is called Lao New Year or 'Songkran (Laos)/PiMai', is one of the most important dates in the Lao calendar. It is the end date of old year replace by coming new year day. It is also the public Laos holiday too.

Myanmar: In Myanmar, New Year Day is called Myanmar New Year or Thingyan. It is a Myanmar New Year Water Festival, public and summer holiday in Myanmar calendar. It means the end of the hot, dry season and ushers in the Myanmar New Year.   -goTop

 

2. NEPAL EARTHQUAKE RELIEF: Over 1000 swayamsevaks belonging to Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh Nepal, Jankalyan Pratishthan, Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Nepal, Pashupati Shiksha Samiti, Pragyik Vidyarthi Parishad and other organizations have worked round the clock in rescue and relief operations after the devastating earthquake in Nepal on 25th April. These activities include carrying the relief material to remote mountain villages, organizing food centers in Kathmandu, assisting injured in the hospitals, helping authorities for cremation of the deceased, operating a helpline at the HSS office for assisting locals and foreign tourists etc. RSS sahsarkaryavaha Dattatreya Hosabale visited Nepal on the very next day of the tragedy and guided these relief measures and also visited a few of the affected areas. Over 50 teams have been formed to continue the relief measures and plans are being drawn for rehabilitation of thousands of affected people including homeless, orphans and others.   -goTop

 

3. BEIJING PULLS UP PLA OVER BHARAT'S SWIFT RESCUE OPERATIONS: The Bharatiya military's swift evacuation of thousands of Bharatiyas from earthquake-hit Nepal has put China on the defensive. Chinese media has questioned why air force planes were not deployed to airlift over 8,000 Chinese, many of whom are still stranded in Nepal.

In a rare comparison of Bharat's military with the People's Liberation Army (PLA), the world's largest, Chinese defense spokesman Geng Yansheng was confronted on 1st May with the question at a briefing as to why the military did not use planes to airlift stranded Chinese when Bharat had done so to ferry its nationals.

There is considerable annoyance in China over the slow process of airlifting of Chinese tourists as well as workers employed in various Beijing-funded projects in Nepal as the task was given to a number of civilian airlines. Besides airlifting thousands of its citizens, the Indian Air Force also transported about 170 foreign nationals from 15 countries to Bharat. Several others were also transported through special buses from across the border to Bihar.

Bharat's quick response to send search and rescue teams besides relief supplies has been reported by the Chinese media, while China too dispatched rescue teams and planes with supplies, by which time the Bharatiya presence on the ground had swelled. Earlier, the Chinese foreign ministry had played down reports of competition with Bharat to assist quake hit Nepal and offered to work with New Delhi "positively" in the relief efforts to help the Himalayan nation overcome the crisis.  -goTop

 

4. SRI RAVI SHANKAR'S YOGA SESSION INSPIRES EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT:   Prime Minister Narendra Modi's call at the UN for an International Day of Yoga reverberated in the European Parliament, the world's largest legislative body, on 21st April with internationally known guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar leading a major yoga event. The event titled "The Yoga Way" was organized by the Bharatiya embassy in Brussels in cooperation with the European Parliament's Delegation for Relations with Bharat.

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's discourse, the interactive question and answer session and the relaxing meditation exercises created a unique buzz among the large audience comprising members of the European Parliament, European Union (EU) officials and ambassadors from various countries.

As a curtain raiser event to celebrate the International Day of Yoga Sri Sri Ravi Shankar was invited to speak on yoga and conduct a meditation session.   -goTop

 

5. BIG TEMPLE CHARIOT FESTIVAL HELD AFTER 100 YEARS: Thousands of devotees participated in the inaugural run of the new chariot chiseled for the famous Sri Brihadeeswarar temple (Big Temple) at Thanjavur on 29th April. This is the first time in a hundred years that the chariot festival of the Big Temple, constructed by Chola King Rajaraja I over 1,000 years ago, is being held.

Special poojas commenced early in the morning after which the processional deities were brought to the newly constructed chariot base on the West Main Street. Amid Vedic chanting, the people pulled the decorated chariot, which stood the height of around 50 feet.

The well-crafted chariot, all of 40 tonne and sporting 360 wooden icons depicting various important mythological events on all its facets, rolled on with a majestic gait.

A total of six new chariots participated in the festival carrying various deities as per tradition.  -goTop

 

6. APPEAL: SEWA INTERNATIONAL BHARAT (SIB): Sewa International Bharat, hereby, requests and appeals one and all to help and support the victims of the unprecedented earthquake next to that of 1934.  Sewa International has resolved to serve the earthquake affected in Nepal as well as Bharat and join hands with other selfless organizations for serving effectively and timely.  

The volunteers team on ground has already joined rescue operation and relief like providing drinking water, food packets, clothes, temporary shelter, life-saving medicines, etc. For more info please visit www.sewainternational.org

Email: sewainternationaldelhi@gmail.com   -goTop

 

7. NEPAL EARTHQUAKE: PASHUPATINATH TEMPLE REMAINS UNHARMED: The famous 5th century Pashupatinath Temple in Kathmandu has survived the massive 7.9 magnitude earthquake that flattened several World Heritages like iconic Dharhara tower and Darbar Square in Nepal. "The Pashupatinath Temple is safe, we have checked the shrine many times and it has developed no cracks," a devotee at the temple said.

The temple, one of the seven monument groups in UNESCO's designation of Kathmandu Valley as a cultural heritage site, is the oldest Hindu temple in Kathmandu whose existence dates back to 400 AD. It suffered minor cracks on its boundary wall when the quake jolted Nepal.    -goTop

 

8. AADHAAR WORLD'S LARGEST BIOMETRIC ID SYSTEM: The Aadhaar card has emerged as probably the world's largest biometric identification programmes in the world with the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) issuing nearly 82 crore cards. 

Available data shows that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) biometric database is way behind with 15 crore and with more Bharatiyas expected to register for Aadhaar, it could emerge as the largest programme of its kind globally. 

Uttar Pradesh had the highest number of enrolments with 10.48 crore cards while Maharashtra had 9.19 crore and West Bengal 6.12 crore up to April 20. 

The unique ID card programme, which was on the brink of being abandoned after the NDA government was swept to power in May last year, has been pursued vigorously by the Modi administration as it pushed to tackle unwieldy subsidies and roll out its massive Jan Dhan financial inclusion drive.   -goTop

 

9. BHARATIYA-ORIGIN SOLDIER AWARDED PREZ MEDAL IN ISRAEL: A 22-year-old Bharatiya-origin soldier with Israeli army has been awarded the President's Medal of Excellence for his outstanding service. Adiel Yosef, who immigrated to Israel from Mumbai four years ago, got the award for serving in the Israel Defence Forces (IDF).

"I always felt that strong connection to Israel and wanted to serve in the IDF. My parents didn't want to move to Israel but on my insistence they first agreed to let me immigrate but finally joined me when the time came", Adiel said.

Following an exemplary service record in the combat unit, including his participation in Israel's war in Gaza last year, he is now all set to join the officer's course. President's Medal of Excellence is awarded every year based on recommendations from commanders of various IDF units for the significant service and outstanding contribution to the Israeli army and the State of Israel.  -goTop

 

10. FIRST TIME POWER GENERATION CROSSES ONE TRILLION UNIT MARK: For the first time in the country, the annual electricity generation in 2014-15 crossed one thousand billion units or one trillion units. Official sources said that power generation during the 2014-15 is 1048.403 BU showing a growth rate of 8.4% over the previous year which is the highest growth rate in the last two decades.

MVA during 2014-15 which is record achievement in a single year and constitutes 137% of the target of 47,871MVA fixed for 2014-15. The huge capacity addition coupled with higher generation and improved transmission capacity has resulted in considerably reducing the electricity energy shortage from a level of 7 to 11% during the last two decades to a record low of only 3.6% during the year 2014-15.  -goTop

 

11. ONLINE VISA APPLICATIONS FOR PAK HINDUS: As a first step to grant Bharatiya citizenship to nearly 60,000 Hindu refugees from Pakistan, the Government has rolled out an online system for submission of Long Term Visa (LTV) application and for its processing.

The decision taken by the Home Ministry is to address the difficulty being faced by Hindu minorities of Pakistan who come to Bharat with the intention to settle here permanently, official sources said. So far, all such visa applications have been accepted manually. Pakistani nationals eligible for LTV can now submit the applications online by logging into www.Indianfrro.Gov.In/frro.   -goTop

 

12. RESOLVE TO CREATE A CASTELESS SOCIETY - DR KRISHNA GOPAL: RSS Sahsarkaryavah Dr Krishna Gopal described the Sangh swayamsevaks as 'tapasvis' who always think and act for betterment of the nation. Addressing a gathering of uniformed swayamsevaks in Dehradun on April 19 he said it is time the work for creating a casteless society should be accelerated. He said there may be different sects in the society, but one who respects all is a Hindu. The function was organised at the Rangers College Ground. Prant Sanghachalak Shri Chandrapal Negi and Mahanagar Sanghachalak Shri Gopal Krishna Mittal also shared the occasion.

Referring to various social evils, Dr Krishna Gopal said the evils like untouchability, etc. have been imposed on us by the invaders, and there were no such evils in our society before the foreign aggressions. He said the areas where the impact of the invasions has been low the evils have no effect. He also mentioned the efforts taken by Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar to eradicate social evils from the Hindu society. RSS Prant Pracharak Dr Harish and Prant Karyavah Shri Laxmi Prasad Jaiswal were also present on the occasion. About 4,300 uniformed swayamsevaks attended the function.   -goTop

 

13. BHARAT TEST FIRES NUCLEAR-CAPABLE BALLISTIC MISSILE: Bharat test-fired its nuclear-capable Agni-III ballistic missile on 15th April  with a range of over 3,000 km, from a base in Odisha, an official said.

The surface-to-surface missile was fired from a launch complex at the Inner Wheeler Island off the coast of Dhamra in Bhadrak district of Odisha.

Agni-III is capable of carrying warheads weighing up to 1.5 tonnes. It is 16 metres in length and weighs 48 tonnes. The missile has a two-stage solid propellant system. It can re-enter the atmosphere at a very high velocity.

Agni-III is a rail mobile system capable missile and can be launched from anywhere in Bharat.

This comes a day after Pakistan successfully test-fired a new ballistic missile which is capable of carrying both conventional and nuclear warheads up to a distance of 1,300 kilometres, bringing many Bharatiya cities under its range.   -goTop

 

14. YASHWANT SINHA GETS HIGHEST FRENCH HONOUR: The French Government has appointed former Finance Minister and BJP leader Yashwant Sinha, Officier de la Legion d'Honneur (Officer of the Legion of Honour), the highest French civilian distinction, in recognition of his international action as Union Minister of Finance (1998-2002), then External Affairs (2002-2004), and his invaluable contribution to thought on international issues.

Giving the Honour to Sinha on 25th April, French Ambassador to Bharat Fran├žois Richier said that  Sinha had contributed to the deepening of the Indo-French strategic partnership, launched during the visit of Atal Bihari Vajpayee in Paris (September 1998) and the development of ties between France and Bharat.   -goTop

 

15. UP RESIDENTS COLLECT MONEY FOR PAK HINDU TEMPLE: The Pakistan Supreme Court's order on April 16 to restore a Hindu temple in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa that was dismantled in 1997, and later occupied by a cleric, had caught headlines but few are aware that the issue has an Agra connection. The shrine was built on the samadhi of a saint Paramhans Ji Maharaj, but a little-known fact is that the samadhi was moved to Agra after 1947.

"The saint's followers in the city say that the Samadhi, locally known as 'NaglaPadi', was shifted to Agra soon after Partition," said Swami Poornanand, who belongs to the saint's lineage. Many of the saint's devotees in the city, enthused at the Pak HC order, have been collecting funds for the temple restoration at Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. "We want to keep our gurudev's memory alive in Pakistan where he passed away, and would like to contribute in whatever way we can,"said Anil Kumar Rai, a follower of the saint.   -goTop

 

16. BHARATIYA -ORIGIN TECHIE SHARES PULITZER PRIZE: A Bharatiya-origin software engineer in the US has shared this year's Pulitzer Prize for graphics team of investigative journalism, in growing recognition of the importance of using information technology (IT) tools in reporting.

Palani Kumanan, a software architect with Dow Jones that publishes the Wall Street Journal, was a part of the winning project's graphics team. The Journal won the top journalism award for its mammoth investigative project, "Medicare Unmasked."   -goTop

 

17. 'NEELA HAI ASMAAN': CAMERON WOOS BHARATIYA VOTERS IN HINDI: It's a first in Britain's electoral politics: a slick video in Hindi seeking votes from the influential Bharatiya community has been released by the Conservative party, highlighting the party's colour--'neela' (blue)--and hitting all the right buttons for the community. A duet song composed for the 2.37 min film appeals to voters to repose their trust in Prime Minister David Cameron, because 'Sapne, apne poore honge, vaade yeh poore karenge' (he will realise our dreams, keep his promises).

The video shows Cameron greeting religious leaders such as Morari Bapu with folded hands, while his wife Samantha appears at various Bharatiya events decked in a sari. Cameron is shown visiting the Golden Temple in Amritsar and gurdwaras in the UK.

The Bharatiya community has historically supported the Labour party, but ever since Cameron became leader of the Conservative party in 2005, he has assiduously wooed the Bharatiya community, often appearing at religious events and places.   -goTop

 

18. MILIBAND PERFORMS AARTI IN UK TEMPLE: Paying tributes to the 'incredible' contribution of the Hindu community to Britain's society, Labour leader Ed Miliband on Sunday turned up at the Swaminarayan temple in Neasden, north London on 26th April  and said he was proud of his relationship with the community. Participating in 'aarti' prayers before addressing worshippers with a 'Namaste' and 'Jai Swaminarayan', Miliband, said he would work to break down 'barriers in every walk of life' while in office. He was accompanied by senior Labour leaders Keith Vaz, Sadiq Khan and Virendra Sharma. Miliband said he was looking forward to working with PM Narendra Modi, and welcoming him to London once his government is formed.

  -goTop

 

19. SHRI VISHWA NIKETAN: Pravas: Shri Saumitra Gokhale, samyojak Vishwa Vibhag returned to US after his tour to Australia and New Zealand. Shri Ravikumar sahsamyojak will be touring East European countries of Romania, Lithuania etc. Dr.Sadanand Sapre sahsamyoajak returned Bharat after pravas to South Africa, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. Visitors: Pradip Agrawal - Thailand, Aparna & Darshan soni - USA, Shashi Chibber - UK

FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Freedom from the desire for an answer is essential to the understanding of the problem. - Jidu Krishnamurthy   -goTop

JAI SHREE RAM

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BROWSE OR SEARCH, IN SANSKRIT!

Suganthy Krishnamachari

(This is the first of a two-part article on Dr. P. Ramanujan's work on Sanskrit and computers)

In the late 1920s, Ghanapathi Parankusachar Swami won a prize in Sanskrit. When asked whether he wanted the prize of Rs 3,000 in cash or kind, he asked for books! Thus he acquired a wonderful library. This enabled his son Ramanujan to pore over the books every day.

Ramanujan spent seven years putting the contents of the Sastras into a database. He culled 30,000 sutras from all the Sastras, classified the different aspects of the Sastras, and gave his compendium the name, Sakala Sastra Sutra Kosa.

When a retired professor of Physics from IIT Madras, who became a sanyasi after being initiated by Sringeri Pontiff, Paramananda Bharati, organised a conference in Delhi on Sanskrit and Computers, Ramanujan told him about the kosa and was asked to present a paper at the conference.

The paper was on using computers for Sanskrit. Many IIT professors were present and what caught their attention was that Ramanujan had come up with a flow chart in Sanskrit, and a programme for the generation of nouns. The then President of India, Dr. Shankar Dayal Sharma, was so impressed that he suggested that Dr. Bhatkar- founder director of Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) - make use of Ramanujan's services. In 1990, Ramanujan joined C-DAC, Pune. While in Pune, Ramanujan developed DESIKA, a comprehensive package for generating and analysing Sanskrit words.

What does DESIKA do? "Given a Sanskrit word, it gives you the hidden meanings, the meanings with which it is packed. Key in a word and DESIKA gives you the noun attributes like paradigm, ending type, noun base, number and case, and similarly for verbs."

When Ramanujan joined C-DAC, their ISCII standard was in the testing stage. Ramanujan wrote the Vedic part of the standard.

Around this time, a question was raised in Parliament about what Indian scientists were doing in the field of Computers and Sanskrit. Ramanujan was asked to make a presentation in Parliament. He presented DESIKA, and later gave a demo in the Parliament annexe. The then Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao, who held the Science and Technology portfolio, attended the demo and was amazed at the simplicity of DESIKA.

Ramanujan made a second presentation in Parliament in 1993. The question now was about how to handle differences between Vedic and classical Sanskrit. Ramanujan replied that this would pose no problems, and showed a 73 by 26 matrix, which he had prepared (73 individual characters in the Vedic part and 26 parameters). For every Vedic syllable, there are three components- consonant, vowel and accent, and each syllable has 26 parameters, which define it fully.

In 1994, C-DAC began work on Vedic fonts and today, all the Vedas have been rendered machine readable. Searchable, analysable Sastraic contents, Itihasas, Puranas, Divya Prabandham are all now available too, with value added features such as retrieval as word, stem, compounds, including Boolean search. You can use the same keyboard layout for any script.

Ramanujan entrusted to students of Veda Pathasalas, the task of typing out old texts. "One lakh pages have been typed, and 600 texts covered. But the task of annotation still remains, because there are not enough knowledgeable people to do the job."

Aren't people who study for many years in pathasalas competent to do this? "Not necessarily. Most of the pathasalas concentrate on rote learning. I feel we can dilute the memorising part and concentrate on analysis. We need to make this kind of study monetarily attractive as well."

Ramanujan was the Principal Investigator for the TARKSHYA (Technology for Analysis of Rare Knowledge Systems for Harmonious Youth Advancement) project, which envisages providing Sanskrit institutions across the country with high speed connectivity, for promoting heritage computing activities. Content has also been developed for online study. Three courses have been designed: Vedic processing, Sastras and manuscript processing. "We have video lectures by 40 scholars. Students can access the lectures through their mobiles. If a student wants to search something later, he can do so, for a verbatim transcript is available."

For manuscript processing, a computer application program, called Pandu-lipi Samshodaka has been developed by C-DAC, which has browse, search, index, analyse and hyperlinking features.

Ramanujan takes me round his library, which has many rare manuscripts, some of them more than 400 years old. They have all been digitised. He feels students must seek out old manuscripts, for who knows what treasures lie hidden in them?

How can we tweak education for students of traditional learning? "A student of Indian logic should study Western logic too. A student of vyakarana must study modern theories of linguistics. Study should be interdisciplinary- mathematics in ancient Sanskrit texts and in modern texts; transdisciplinary-that is different areas within Sanskrit such as vyakarana, mimamsa, nyaya; multi disciplinary- a student of ayurveda could perhaps study the therapeutical aspects of music."

Helpful for scholars Ramanujan has a website parankusa.org, in which he gives the Arsheya system for the Krishna Yajur Veda. This is a topical arrangement of contents. What is actually followed today is the Saarasvatha system, which does not have such an ordering. Giving the Arsheya system alongside the Saarasvatha ordering, has been of great help to many Sanskrit scholars.

(http://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/access-the-sastras-through-the-computer/article6986130.ece)   -goTop

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WHERE SANSKRIT MEETS COMPUTER SCIENCE

In the early 1900s, analytic philosophers such as Russell and initially Wittgenstein too, tried to develop artificial languages, which, unlike ordinary language, would provide them with a more logical grammar, and words with unambiguous meanings. Language was a major preoccupation for later analytic philosophers such as Austin too, although he felt ordinary language itself would serve the purpose of the philosopher.

Talking about generative grammar, linguist Noam Chomsky said that grammar books do not show how to generate even simple sentences, without depending on the implicit knowledge of the speaker. He said this is true even of grammars of  "great scope" like Jespersen's 'A Modern English Grammar on Historical Principles.' There is some "unconscious knowledge" that makes it possible for a speaker to "use his language." This unconscious knowledge is what generative grammar must render explicit. Chomsky said there were classical precedents for generative grammar, Panini's grammar being the "most famous and important case."

Walter Eugene Clark, who was Professor of Sanskrit at Harvard University, and who translated Aryabhatta's Aryabhatiya into English, wrote that "Panini's grammar is the earliest scientific grammar in the world, and one of the greatest." He said the "Indian study of language was as objective as the dissection of the body by an anatomist."

Not surprisingly, there are scientists who study Paninian grammar, with a view to seeing what application they have in the area of Natural Language Processing (NLP) research.

Dr. P. Ramanujan, Programme Co-ordinator, Indian Heritage Group- C-DAC, Bengaluru, is an authority on Paninian grammar. With a tuft, a namam on his forehead and a traditional dhoti, he doesn't look like a typical scientist. Ramanujan is proof that traditional education need not stand in the way of a career in science, for it is his traditional learning which has brought him to where he is today.

Trained from the age of three by his father, Ghanapadi Parankusachar Swami, Ramanujan completed his study of the 4000 verses of the Divya Prabandham by the age of 11. After his upanayanam, Vedic studies began. But he also had to go to regular school, so that he had an almost 24-hour academic engagement, studying one thing or the other.

A brilliant student, Ramanujan wanted to become an engineer. But his father wanted him to take up a job soon, and so suggested he do a diploma course. After obtaining his diploma, Ramanujan joined HAL. Later on, he graduated in engineering, and did his Masters in Engineering from IISc, where his thesis was on Development of a General Purpose Sanskrit Parser.

What would make a study of Sanskrit useful to a student of Computer Science? "If a language has many meanings for a word, it is ambiguous, but when Sanskrit has many meanings for a word, it is rich!" says Dr. Ramanujan, who headed a project on 'Computational Rendering of Paninian Grammar.'

The richness of Sanskrit comes from the fact that everything is pre-determined and derivable. "There is a derivational process, and so there is no ambiguity. You can explain everything structurally. There is a base meaning, a suffix meaning and a combination meaning. The base is the constant part, and the suffix is the variable part. The variables are most potent. With suffixes one can highlight, modify or attenuate."

Two different words may denote an object, but you can't use them interchangeably, for the functional aspect is what matters. For example you can't replace 'Agni' with 'Vahni,' for 'Agni' has its own componential meaning.

An object may be denoted by the base. An object can have sets of relationships and interactions with other things in the world. For example, 'Rama', in relation to other objects, may be an agent of some activity or the recipient etc. "Even the interactions have been codified nicely and briefly. Clarity and brevity are the hallmarks of Panini's work. His rule-based approach is his biggest plus point."

Isn't it true that in Sanskrit you don't have to coin words for a new invention or discovery, and you can derive a word to suit the functionality of the object? "Yes. You have all the components with you to derive a word.You can use multiple suffixes, if need be, to show the particular function of an object."

Does meaning vary according to accent? "It does. For the same suffix, different meanings are derivable because of accent differences. So you have the Divine Couple, Jaganmatha and Jagathpitha. How do you show the difference between our parents for all time and our parents in this life alone? Accent helps here. This is how the Vedas are most apt, and this has been fully noted by Panini. "He gave us a conceptual, functional system. You take an example, apply the rules and get clarity about what it means. So the structure is important. The component approach is important."

Wasn't there an occasion when the work of a Finnish scholar, who found fault with Panini, was referred to you ? "The Finnish scholar said that Panini was wrong in some rules relating to Vedic grammar. 'Let Lakaara' is used only in the Vedas, and Panini wrote five sutras for it. The Finnish scholar felt Panini could have handled this differently. George Cardona, from the University of Pennsylvania, referred him to me. I pointed out that Panini cannot be faulted internally. After all he set out a meta language first. He said this is how I will write my rules. Externally, if you want, write a grammar yourself. Many have tried and no one has been able to better Panini".

Have you included 'Let Lakaara' in your programs? "Yes, I have. 'Let Lakaara' is very tough, because 108 forms can be generated theoretically for every root. N.S. Devanathachariar, Mimamsa Professor in Tirupati, appreciated my work."

However, Dr. Bachchu Lal Awasthi, a Presidential awardee and a grammarian, felt that only as many forms as occur in the Vedas should be generated. His objection was that one should use the Sutras to understand what existed, but one should not use the Sutra to generate the rest.

When Ramanujan explained that his program was done mainly to show how the rules worked, Dr. Awasthi conceded that Ramanujan did have a point. "This just shows that people can be won over, if we are able to show the purpose of something"

(http://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/where-sanskrit-meets-computer-science/article7061379.ece)   -goTop