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Library Philosophy and Practice 2012

ISSN 1522-0222

Online Guides to Indian Languages with Particular Reference to Hindi, Punjabi, and Sanskrit

Prof. Preeti Mahajan
Department of Library and Information Science
Panjab University
Chandigarh, India

Neeraj Kumar Singh
Assistant Librarian
A C Joshi Library
Panjab University
Chandigarh, India

Introduction

India is a multilingual country and the second most populated country on earth There are a quite a number of languages spoken in India. Some of these languages are accepted nationally while others are accepted as dialects of that particular region. The Indian languages belong to four language families namely Indo-European, Dravidian, Austroasiatic (Austric) and Sino-Tibetan. Majority of India's population are using Indo-European and Dravidian languages. The former are spoken mainly in northern and central regions and the latter in southern India. India has 22 officially recognised languages. But around 33 different languages and 2000 dialects have been identified in India. Hindi, in the Devanagari script is the official language of the Federal government of India. English is an associate official language.

Information Sources

The last decade witnessed the proliferation of personal computers in the Indian subcontinent. Creating documents in Indian languages has become easier than ever before, and in many cases, desktop publishing has replaced the traditional press. Electronic publications can be broadly divided into two categories, offline and online. Online Documents: CD-ROMs with Indian language content, covering subjects like music and the arts, mythol- ogy, traditional medicine, etc. are becoming increasingly popular. In addition, the Government of India has set up four mega-centers for creating Digital Libraries of primarily literary material. This huge collection of digitized documents is gradually being uploaded to the Web. One of the possible frameworks for organizing this collection is pro-vided by the Greenstone digital library package2, available in a wide range of Indian languages. The central and state governments of India are also promoting the use of the vernacular for social work. For example, the proceedings of the Indian Parliament are available as multilingual documents. Thus, there is a growing archive of social documents written in native languages. There are about 60 online daily news publications, and other online IL data sources like blogs, magazines, etc. on the Web. Recently, the Government of India has launched a mega digital library initiative; a country-wide cross-lingual information access consortium has also been established. The need for effective information access methods for Indian languages is therefore unquestionable.

Online Resources in Hindi

Kaavyaalaya

Kaavyaalaya is a collection of Hindi poems that is run by Vani Murarka and Vinod Tewary. It was started on Geocities in 1997. Ever since its inception, it has received appreciation and very warm and enthusiastic response from Hindi lovers all over the world. The sole purpose of Kaavyaalaya is to share the pleasure of poetry in Hindi with others. One can also contribute one's own poem or a poem written by some one else with due credits, published or unpublished.

Fig.1 http://www.manaskriti.com/kaavyaalaya/

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Anubhuti

It is a collection of Hindi Poetry and is an open invitation to all types of poetic expressions in Hindi. It is updated every Monday and the rights are secure with the authors and publishers. Literary writings can also be accessed from the archives date wise, and alphabetically from the list of authors.

Figure 2 http://www.anubhuti-hindi.org/

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Bharat Darshan

Bharat-Darshan is a Hindi literary magazine from New Zealand. It aims at popularising Hindi by offering short stories, poetry, literary news and web based Hindi lessons. It provides a forum to all writers in hindi including hindi poets, novelists, etc.Hindi Teacher in Bhart Darshan provides lessons in Hindi vowels consonants, etc.

Figure 3 http://www.bharatdarshan.co.nz/

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Figure 4 http://www.bharatdarshan.co.nz/

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Abhivayakti

Abhivyakti, published weekly as a Hindi Web Magazine, is open invitation to all types of expressions in Hindi. Poems, stories, articles, artwork: joyous journey through Arts, Culture, and Philosophy of India. It aims to provide Hindi literature easily accessible in all corners of the world. The authors through this site can share their experiences as well as their litrary work. One can search for literary works from the archives of previous issues or subject wise or author wise.

Figure 5 http://www.abhivyakti-hindi.org/

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Web Dunia

The revolutionary First Indian Language Portal www.webdunia.com was launched in 2000. The idea was to strengthen the Internet revolution in the country by initiating online quality content in 9 Indian languages. Webdunia has played a very critical role in advancing language content in the country along with specializations in providing the Localization Services, Mobile VAS, Language Technology, Enterprise & Web Solutions.

Figure 6 http://www.webdunia.com/

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Hindi Novels

This website acts as a forum for creative persons worldwide to interact freely amongst themselves. Its objective is to create a magazine where the children from across the world are encouraged to run their imagination wild. They are provided with a platform where they come out with their creative abilities as also a place where they learn while having fun. Children can submit their poems, short stories, paintings and enjoy the jokes, games, etc.

Figure 7 http://www.childplanet.com/hindi/index.html

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BBC Hindi

BBC is known worldwide for quality and objectivity in its reporting. BBC Hindi.com is a high-powered package of news, current events, background information, in-depth analysis as well as human interest features and light stories in text, audio and video which is used by millions of Hindi-speakers around the world.

Figure 8 www.bbchindi.com

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Hindi Wikipedia

Wikipedia is written collaboratively by an international group of volunteers. Anyone with Internet access can write and make changes to Wikipedia articles. Since its creation in 2001, Wikipedia has grown rapidly into one of the largest reference web sites, attracting around 65 million visitors monthly as of 2009. There are more than 85,000 active contributors working on more than 14,000,000 articles in more than 260 languages. Wikipedia started its Hindi version in 2003. Currently it has about 54,000 articles.

Figure 9 http://hi.wikipedia.org/wiki/hindi

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Hindi Dictionary

The online English Hindi dictionary which started as a small project with an aim to just make a website in Hindi. Dictionary was chosen as an application because there was no good quality online dictionary at that time. The first version had about 15,000 words from the public domain dictionary compiled by Ram Narain Lal in 1936. Over time, the vocabulary was improvised and today it has tens of thousands of words. This site has grown in popularity because of its easy interface and strong vocabulary database. Today, this online dictionary is one of the top sites for Indian language reference.

Figure 10 http://www.cfilt.iitb.ac.in/~hdict/webinterface_user/dict_search_user.php

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Hindi Ki Bindi

HindiKiBindi.com contains material to learn Hindi. It is dedicated not only to promote hindi language but also to ensure that our children regard the values of our culture. Its content is for all age, and for every taste peoples. It aims to bring Hindi speaking people closer to each other by providing a common linguistic platform, so that they can share their thoughts in their mother tongue.

Figure 11 http://www.hindikibindi.com/dictionary/index.php

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Cultural Heritage Digital Library

Under the TDIL programme of the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology, Government of India, the project entitled CoILNet -"Cultural Heritage Digital Library in Hindi with Special Focus on Hindi Speaking Region" has been initiated at IGNCA. The main idea behind is to disseminate the vast resources for the wider use of the net users in Hindi. It offers carefully selected, thoughtfully hyper linked and highly integrated multimedia content on cultural heritage, folk literature and lifestyle of Hindi speaking region. Approximately 10,000 textual pages in Hindi in different dialects including Avadhi, Maithili, Braj, Bhojpuri, Majjhi, Santhali, Chattisgarhi, Bagheli, Marvari, etc., approximately 5,000 digital images, approximately 100 hours of audio and video recording of dance, ritual, music, festivals, theatre, lifestyle, interviews and lectures etc. are available.

Figure 12 http://tdil.mit.gov.in/CoilNet/IGNCA/welcome.html

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Online Resources in Punjabi

Punjab Digital Library

Panjab Digital Library digitally preserves and makes accessible the rich heritage of Panjab. The mission of the Panjab Digital Library (PDL) is to locate, digitize, preserve, collect and make accessible the accumulated wisdom of the Punjab region, without distinction as to script, language, religion, nationality, or other physical condition. It comprises the invaluable heritage of Punjab from Manuscripts, books, official records, newspapers, miniatures, murals, periodicals, paintings, pictures, architecture etc. Currently, it contains over 10,600 texts (around 26 million pages of manuscripts, books, newspapers, photographs and magazines), part of which is already online.

Figure 13 http://www.panjabdigilib.org/webuser/searches/mainpage.jsp

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Encyclopedia of Sikhism

The need for a comprehensive reference work was badly felt by Punjabi University, Patiala to meet the needs of scholars and students in the field of Sikh studies resulting in the development of The Sikh Encyclopaedia. The work is comprehensive in scope and covers topics such as Sikh theology, philosophy, history, ethics, literature, art, ceremonies, customs, personalities, shrines, sects, etc. An attempt has been made to define the ideas and terms of Sikhism with clarity and precision. Certain names and terms have been used in the text in their original Punjabi form.

Figure 14 http://www.advancedcentrepunjabi.org/eos/

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Punjabi Grammar Checker

The Punjabi grammar checker, developed by Advanced Centre for Technical Devlopment of Punjabi Language,Literature and Culture, Punjabi University, Patiala, can detect and suggest rectifications for a number of grammatical errors in literary style Punjabi texts. It covers modifier and noun agreement, subject/object and verb agreement, order of modifiers in a noun phrase, order of words in a verb phrase, use of contractions, etc. In its present state, the system may generate some false alarms for complex and compound sentences. The user can type the text by clicking on the onscreen keyboard or by typing in the keyboard layout of AnmolLipi font and can also paste Unicode text in the text box.

Figure 15 http://pgc.advancedcentrepunjabi.org/

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Hindi to Punjabi Machine Translation System

This web-based software provides the facility of translating the Hindi text into Punjabi text.. The input text can be translated ,transliterated, emailed without translation into Punjabi as well as emailed after translating into Punjabi. In another feature, user can type the website address of any hindi website and on clicking Translate button, the website is displayed in Punjabi Language. The links in the output translated webpages can be clicked and again the translated webpages will be displayed.

Figure 16 http://h2p.learnpunjabi.org/

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Punjabi to English Dictionary

Punjabi to English dictionary is online bilingual dictionary developed by Advanced Centre for Technical Development of Punjabi language, Literature and Culture, Punjabi University Patiala. It is a multimedia dictionary which is compiled both in Gurumukhi and Shahmukhi scripts. It contains a total of 35,682 records.

Figure 17 http://www.advancedcentrepunjabi.org/pedic/default.aspx

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Learn Punjabi

This website provides introduction to consonants, vowels, tones of the Punjabi language along with the knowledge about alphabets, words and sentence formation in Punjabi language. It also provides some rhymes as well as animated and talking stories.

Figure 18 http://www.learnpunjabi.org/intro1.asp

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18x

Sri Granth

Sri Granth is a Sri Guru Granth Sahib search engine and resource. It provides an easy-to-use tool and interface that allows people to learn about Gurbani with utmost ease. It also includes features such as mouse-over of meanings of Guru Granth Sahib words, faster search, and Gurmukhi and Transliteration spell-checker for advising the correct words when one types an incorrect word for a search query.

Figure 19 http://www.srigranth.org/servlet/gurbani.dictionary

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Google Punjabi

Google Punjabi offers an onscreen board in Punjabi script wherein the users can type anything in Punjabi and the search is also displayed in Punjabi. It is easy to use.

Figure 20 http://labs.google.co.in/keyboards/punjabi.html

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Online Resources in Sanskrit

Sanskrit Digital Library

The Sanskrit Library is dedicated to facilitating philological research and education in Vedic and Classical Sanskrit language and literature by documenting, collecting, preserving, and publishing oral, written, and printed texts in digital form, and by developing innovative research and educational tools. The International Digital Sanskrit Library Integration (IDSLI) project integrates currently independent projects to create Sanskrit digital archives, digital lexica, and linguistic software; and to establish text-encoding standards, enhance ancient and medieval manuscript access, and develop OCR technology, display software, and Unicode-compliant text-editing software for Devanagari text. This web site contains material based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) . It contains two independent study Sanskrit readers, Sanskrit grammatical literature, dynamic software for nominal and verbal inflectional morphology, a digital version of W. D. Whitney's The Roots, Verb-Forms, and Primary Derivatives of the Sanskrit Language, and instructional materials. New content will appear regularly.

Figure 21 http://www.sanskritlibrary.org/

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Sanskrit Dictionary

The Sanskrit Heritage Dictionary is an avatar of a Sanskrit to French Dictionary "Dictionnaire Français de l'Héritage Sanskrit" compiled by Gérard Huet since 1994. This dictionary is freely available as a 509 pages book under the pdf format. The lexical database is designed as a multilingual facility, but in the present version it is limited to English for grammatical tools and general navigation help, and to French for meanings of the vocables. Entries in the dictionary are arranged by vocables, which may be verbs or nouns. Two index engines are provided. The main index requires exactly transliterated input and Sanskrit made easy index requires a romanized input for a full word, without diacritics and aspiration marks, for easy access to words like Siva, Visnu, Panini, Sankara, etc.

Figure 22 http://sanskrit.inria.fr/DICO/index.html

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Sanskrit Texts and Stotras

Using this site, one can study Sanskrit, read Sanskrit texts, listen to Vedic pundits chant, or read Sanksrit humor. It contains a wide variety of Sanskrit texts and stotras in the pdf format. Most of the texts are in Devanagari script, some with English translation. The Bhagavad-Gita, Devi Mahatmyam, all of the sahasranama stotras, and several other texts are also encoded in transliteration.

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Figure 23 http://www.sanskrit.safire.com/

Sanskrit Documents

This site attempts to compile documents in Sanskrit along with links to various organizations affiliated with the Indian "thought." There are links to dictionaries, tutorials, processing tools, translations, and audio files which will aid in the learning process. The documents are presented in various formats to give access to different levels of users, browsers, and computer platforms. The index to formats explains the formats along with the viewers required to see them. It provides links to Veda, Rigveda, Upanishad, etc.

Figure 24 http://sanskritdocuments.org/doc_1_title.html

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Bible in Sanskrit

This is a well maintained site and acts as a reference point for a-z in Sanskrit. It is a very useful website for Sanskrit learning. By using this site one can download some great books in Sanskrit.

Figure 25 http://sanskritebooks.wordpress.com/2009/11/26/the-bible-in-sanskrit/

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Conclusion

In fact, it is said that there in an information overload as a lot of information is being bought out in different formats in different languages. Information is available in print as well as in non-print form. The information is being brought out by various agencies including universities, research institutions, associations, government, etc. It is very difficult for a user to find out as to what has been published and where it can be located. Specially In the age of Googleism, a lot of information is available free in the public domain. Hence, the users need to be made information literate as they are not aware of such sources, which could be of use to them. The paper evaluates some of the information sources available on the internet in the languages of Hindi, Punjabi and Sanskrit.

References