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Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan 

Knowledge Technology for Sanskrit: R&D Prospects


Industrial revolution raised concerns of productivity and quality which were addressed with information technology.  During 1990s, need was felt for Knowledge Management that is processing interlinked information. 

                 न हि ज्ञानेन सदृशं पवित्रमिह विद्यते           (गीता ४.३८)

(Indeed, there is nothing purifying here comparable to Knowledge.) 

“Knowledge is experience: Everything else is just information.”           . . . Albert Einstein

Knowledge is residue of thinking.  It is created at the boundary of old.  Knowledge flows from community to community spatially and temporally.  Knowledge links to network of ideas, memory, predictions, procedures, beliefs, cultural expressions and experiences.

Sanskrit scriptures have rich treasure of linguistic, philosophical, cultural, scientific and technological knowledge.  In order to capture, analyze, integrate and disseminate vast knowledge in Sanskrit, far and wide, it is imperative to use knowledge technology. New India can immensely benefit upon connect up with such heritage knowledge.

Rick Briggs (Scientist at NASA Ames Research Center, Moffat Field, California) published a paper in 1986 on “Knowledge Representation in Sanskrit and Artificial Intelligence”.  But we have not yet harnessed the potential of Sanskrit methodologies and knowledge systems.

Language technologies and tools have been developed under the TDIL program of Min. of Electronics & IT, Government of India to process information in Indian Languages, and a few technologies for Sanskrit too

There are still technological issues relating to input, parsing, word processing, annotated corpora, dictionaries, knowledge representation, encoding with Vedic symbols, digitization of manuscripts, Sanskrit WordNet, translation memories, expert systems, Authoring system, spelling check, grammar check, searchable Sanskrit dictionaries, content creation, e-learning resources, etc.  Requisite tools need to be developed and made available as user-friendly products.

There is scope of further research in the field of speech processing using phonetic rules as prescribed in Prati-sakhya of Shiksha Shastra, metre study as in Chhand shastra.  Translation domains of text-to-speech, speech-to-text, speech-to-speech open up new avenues for research and development.

A word in Sanskrit may connote wider context that interlinks other contextual concepts. It is possible to develop Concept based Networking Language (CNL) that may become like Universal Networking Language suitable for Cross-Lingual Information Retrieval.

Semantic web, cognitive computing, brain simulation, building consciousness are emerging research areas wherein Sanskrit studies may help.

Capacity building at Sanskrit schools, colleges, universities and centers of excellence for Sanskrit studies and research need to be strengthened with appropriate Knowledge Technology tools and linguistic resources that need to be identified, developed, and made available.

Standards need to be evolved for input mechanism, script-grammar, language grammar, transcription tables, phonetic table etc.

Standard for Devanagari based Indian Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) may be developed that will be useful in speech processing and Linguistic studies of world Languages.

Standard of Concept based Networking Language (CNL) may be useful in machine translation among world languages.

Synergistic collaboration between Government, Academia and Industry would be required to accomplish the desired objectives. It is desirable to promote Sanskrit based studies worldwide that all the technologies and tools developed through Governmental support and initiatives need be available in open source for use by all.


In the above backdrop, it is proposed:

1)    to discuss  technological issues being faced by Sanskrit scholars and propose remedies

2)    to identify problems relating to R&D

3)    to propose project proposals that may be taken up by appropriate agencies

4)    to identify R&D institutions where time bound R&D projects may be initiated

5)    to identify Sanskrit institutions where Knowledge Technology enabled Sanskrit studies may begin

6)    to suggest Centers of Excellence where technology-enabled high-end research in Sanskrit may be conducted

7)    to evolve standards for metre analysis and Devanagari based Phonetic Alphabet that may be used for other languages also,

8)    to evolve strategy for international collaboration for futuristic research in cognitive computing, heritage knowledge preservation, semantic networking, etc.

Implementing Strategy:

Project proposals are called in the following broad areas for discussion:

  1. Input-Output (keyboard, voice, OCR, thought driven, display (print, voice, sign)  for normal and impaired users)
  2. Processing tools (parser, spell checker, grammar checker, summarizer, etc.)
  3. Linguistic data resources (Lexicon, Linguistic Data resource, Ontologies, Parallel corpora, Translation memories, Test data set, etc.)
  4. Standards (IPA, CNL, etc.)
  5. Applications (Education, Health care, Raga based therapy, heritage, etc.)
  6. Capacity Building (traditional technology-enabled Learning practices, pedagogy, teachers training, Massive Open Online Courses, etc.)
  7. Sanskrit based Cognitive Computing (Building Consciousness, Brain Simulation, Augmented Intelligence, Cognitive Augmentation, etc.)
  8. Strategy for Synergistic Collaboration between Government, Academia and Industry.

Format for project proposals:

1.     Title of project

2.     Aim and scope

3.     Implementation strategy

4.     Duration

5.     Estimated budget

6.     Prospective tie-up institutions

7.     Spin-off benefits/outcome

Proposals may be sent to Email:

Duration: 11 October (Friday) 2019


K M Munshi Auditorium, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Copernicus Lane, New Delhi