Fields Medal winner Manjul Bhargava was in Bengaluru for the inauguration of the Murty Classical Library of India.
Very few of us will contest that India's classical, literary heritage is vast and precious. But very few of us have really accessed this heritage. Language is a big issue that comes in the way of both modern day Indians and people around the world dipping into the ocean of India's classical literature.
Fields Medal winner, Professor Manjul Bhargava, was in Bengaluru to launch the Murty Classical Library that aims to bridge that gap. He told NDTV, "The literature of Sanskrit - to pick just one Indian language - is greater than that of Greece and Rome combined, and yet we have all the translations of the Latin and Greek works and all this treasure trove of literature in Sanskrit and all the Indian languages... India has to be the ambassador for its classics."
The son of IT entrepreneur NR Narayana Murthy, Dr Rohan Murthy donated millions of dollars to Harvard University to launch the Murty Classical Library. It is a not-for-profit venture, with Murty hoping to introduce online versions of the books that would be available free.
The library will bring out an average of five volumes a year from India's great and ancient texts. Translators suggest books they would want to work on to the editorial board, headed by Sanskrit scholar Sheldon Pollock.
"There are lots of suggestions I have given to the editorial boards...connected to my domain. I have harangued Sheldon Pollock and the others, saying it would be lovely to have some texts, like Panini's work, that have ramifications in computer sciences, programming languages and grammar. And, I would love computer scientists to know the contribution that India made 1500 years ago," he added.
The first set of five books includes poems of Surdas, a history of Akbar, Sufi lyrics of Bulleh Shah, the story of Manu and Terigatha - a collection of poems by the world's first Budddhist women.
Actor Arundhati Nag was at the Bengaluru launch. "It is a medal that every Indian can wear proudly and the rest of the world can understand what this very old civilsation was about, for us to understand with faith, truthfully, where we stand."