I do not have the caliber to write the foreword. I am fascinated by your courageous act. I believe this work will be a great service to our mother tongue.
( In response to request to write a preface for Bhagwadgomandal )
Gandhiji's Original Postcard on BG
Bhagwadgomandal is the biggest and the most prolific work in Gujarati. Visionary Maharaja Bhagwatsinhji of Gondal gifted the original Bhagwadgomandal to the world after 26 years of scientific and detailed work. Till date, this encyclopedic dictionary remains a cultural milestone of Gujarati language.
His Highness Shri Bhagwatsinhji Maharaja of Gondal has left his indelible mark on the footprints of time, not only as a great royal, but also as a great social and literary contributor. He played a pivotal role in promoting Gujarati language at the global level. Shri Bhagwatsinhji created a rich encyclopedic dictionary by devoting an unimaginable period of 26 productive years and by religiously scrutinizing and researching Gujarati language's rich vocabulary. Even today, the literary world salutes him for the creation of Bhagwadgomandal.
The name ‘Bhagwadgomandal’ is derived from two words - Bhagwad and Gomandal.
1. Bhagwad means Bhagwatsinhji, large, prosperous, storehouse of knowledge, inspired by God, great.
2. Gomandal means lexicon, dictionary, encyclopedia, Gondal.
Thus Bhagwadgomandal means:
- Bhagwatsinhji's Dictionary
- Large Dictionary
- Rich Encyclopedia
- Treasure of Knowledge
- God Inspired Extensive Speech
- Greatness of Gondal
Bhagwatsinhji Maharaja was born on Oct 24, 1865. During his early days, his devotion and love for the language was evident from his preference for usage of Gujarati instead of English in courts, office and correspondence. Like everyone else, he experienced the need for a comprehensive and rich Gujarati dictionary. However, the important need was not met for a long time. Finally, Maharaja Bhagwatsinhji took the onus of creating the dictionary and started working on collecting new words in the year 1915. Maharaja indeed had a special character and impeccable values !
Maharaja Bhagwatsinhji followed the scientific and lexical approach for the creation of Bhagwadgomandal. He researched reliable reference books, important publications, novels, poetry collections, newspapers, periodicals, petitions, advertisements, reviews of plays and movies, price list of goods etc. He was passionately involved and he even collected the words from waste paper or fluttering leaflets or from any source that led to original and new words. He ensured that all the prevalent rules of the Gujarati language were religiously followed.
Even Oxford, Webster and Government of India follow the similar approach for creating corpus of words for creating lexicons and lexical research. Our great Bhagwatsinhji followed the same approach in as early as 1915. The author is in complete awe of Maharaja for his vision, approach, meticulousness and passionate devotion!
Shri Bhagwatsinhji started the administrative office of Bhagwadgomandal dictionary in Gondal on Oct 1, 1928. He launched the legendary work by initial contribution of 20,000 words collected by him. He released the first volume containing 902 pages on Aug 25, 1944. This was followed by the release of subsequent volumes in every 1 or 2 years. The ninth and the final volume was released on Mar 9, 1955. Unfortunately, Maharaja Bhagwatsinhji could not see the completion of his iconic work as he had expired on Mar 9, 1944.
Bhagwadgomandal is the most authentic representation of the spoken language of Gujarati people. It is a comprehensive classical resource covering excellent information about all the domains of religion, literature, art, business, science, society, culture, social science etc. It provides in-depth information on each and every word with not only its meaning but its pronunciation, type, grammar, idiom, example and even pictures, if needed. For example, the word 'KALA' has one line in Sarth, three lines of meaning in Bruhad Kosh. However in Bhagwadgomandal dictionary, this word has not only 62 meanings but also complete description of 64 different KALAs spread over 6 full size pages. Thus Bhagwadgomandal is not just a great dictionary but it is a powerful encyclopedia.
The Himalayan Bhagwadgomandal work was completed after 26 years of relentless effort and devotion. Approximately Rs 5 lakhs were spent on the publication. The cost of production of this priceless work was Rs 545 but it was offered to the general public at a subsidized rate of Rs 146. Bhagwadgomandal is a unique work of Gujarati language.
The nine volumes of Bhagwadgomandal contain 9270 pages, 281, 377 words, 821, 832 meanings and 28,156 idioms. A person is truly enlightened once he opens Bhagwadgomandal. From the point of view of corpus and lexicography, this is matchless work. In fact, for the first time in history, the world came to know that Gujarati language has such a rich vocabulary through this dictionary. This resulted in Bhagwadgomandal being conferred various titles including 'The Roaring Ocean of Knowledge', 'Cultural Bible of Gujarati Language', 'Encyclopedia, 'Gujarati Language's Self-Consciousness', 'Collection of All Knowledge', 'Sea of Prosperity' etc.
We salute Shri Bhagwatsinhji for preserving the rich knowledge of our ancestors and making the information treasure available to general public in a very lucid form.
Bhagwadgomandal occupies a special place in Gujarati language's rich cultural heritage. It is the most respected and referred encyclopedic work inspite of availability of other dictionaries like Sarth, Bruhad, Narm etc. The smile on the face of any Gujarati lover after searching Bhagwadgomandal is indeed magical.
Shri Ratilal Chandaria started working on a digital dictionary in 1975. He contributed his collection of words and started building a lexicon. When Bhagwadgomandal was reprinted in 1986, he immediately purchased a few sets. Like an expert connoisseur, he knew the importance of this work and decided to digitize Bhagwadgomandal in his lifetime.
Ratilal launched GujaratiLexicon after a Herculean effort of more than 2 decades. The site caught the imagination of the Gujarati lovers and received support from far and wide corners. This encouraged him to digitize Bhagwadgomandal using the technological expertise, latest tools and Unicode fonts. He undertook this project to enable each and every person residing in any corner of the world to use this treasure of knowledge, understand its richness and use it in every day life with ease.
The Objective of Digital Bhagwadgomandal is:
“Digitalization and contemporarization of Bhagwadgomandal using the latest technological tools to preserve it as a part of our cultural heritage enhance its usage among current and potential lovers of Gujarati language and create its awareness for generation next.”
The project is aimed at benefiting the lovers of Gujarati language, researchers, academicians, authors, journalists, youth and all gujaratis across the world.
The Bhagwadgomandal (BG) team followed the following approach for digitization:
1. Securing Permission for Digitization of BG
2. Detailed Study of Original BG & BG Manuscripts
3. Create Expert Advisory Team
4. Create Standards For Data Entry & Final Result
5. Recruit Team of Data Entry & Proof Readers
6. Train Team on BG Basics and Data Entry
7. Software Programmers Create Special Software For Data Entry
8. Data Entry of BG
9. Two Levels of Checking of Data Entry
10. Expert Level Checking of Data Entry
11. Software Programmers Create BETA Website for BG
12. Feedback From Cross Section of Experts, General Public
13. Software Programmers Create CD Software for BG
The Digital BG project was started on the auspicious day of Mahavir Jayanti April 18, 2008. The project has been executed at mission mode speed and is to be completed within one year. A record time !
Shri Ratilal Chandaria has many similarities with Shri Bhagwatsinhji. Visionary, Just, Able Administrator, Royal Persona, Kind And Sensitive Heart, Razor Sharp Memory, Impeccable Character, Inspiring Leadership, Love for Gujarati, Culturally Aware...Just like Shri Bhagwatsinhji, Shri Ratilal Chandaria has made innumerable physical, emotional and financial sacrifices for this project. Bhagwatsinhji was committed to adorn our mother tongue with rich work even at the ripe age of 80. Ratilal Chandaria is showing the similar love for language at the age of 87. Ratilal Chandaria's passion and labour of love for Gujarati language is famous at GujaratiLexicon.
Ratilal Chandaria's GujaratiLexicon is the most comprehensive Online Gujarati Language Resource. GujaratiLexicon is a landmark work in the history of Gujarati language containing resources of more than 25 lakh words. It aims to preserve, popularize and develop Gujarati language through the power of information technology. Lovers of Gujarati language can develop vocabulary, enjoy literature, read exclusive literature and join our mission through GujaratiLexicon.com.
GujaratiLexicon is a small attempt in contemporizing Gujarati and developing Gujarati Language Resources. It is the first comprehensive Indian language resource kit on the Internet.
GujaratiLexicon is marching ahead towards its 2 million visitors. The aim is to ensure that wherever Gujarati resides, there resides GujaratiLexicon.
Jai Gujarati !