Odia-language Digital Resources and Literature are in High Demand. The Researcher, Fluent in Odia, has Resumed work on Digitising the Sarala MahabharataDiscover the digital revival of Odia literature with Arlo Griffith's project on Sarala Mahabharata. Explore the richness of Odia language and culture!
on Feb 05, 2024
Arlo Griffith, an Indologist and Sanskritist residing in France, has proposed the establishment of digital resources and the use of technology to preserve and promote the Odia language and literature.
Arlo, who spoke at the first World Odia Conference on Saturday, said he has begun working on digitising Sarala Das's 'Sarala Mahabharata'.
Arlo, the head of The Jakarta Centre at EFEO (French School of Asian Studies), has spent over a decade investigating the 'Paippalada' Atharvaveda tradition, which is still practiced in Odisha today. "While conducting study in Odisha, I stumbled across the Sarala Mahabharata and desired to read it.
This is when I understood I needed to scan it," said the professor, a philologist, Indologist, and Sanskritist who specialises in ancient epigraphy and Indian and Southeast Asian philology.
In 2008, he scanned the Sarala Mahabharata at the University of Leiden and then commissioned typists from South India to type the content and reassemble it for a larger audience. "However, the typists performed poorly since they were unable to understand Odia. "I had to abandon the project then," he explained.
Fluent in Odia, the scholar has resumed work on digitising the Sarala Mahabharata. He emphasised the importance of digital resources in the language and literature fields, stating that relying on printed pages restricts the quantity of information that can be extracted.
"I want to make the published version of the Sarala Mahabharata available online so that everyone can read and research it. I've been told that some senior scholars are working on the Sarala Mahabharata, but I'm curious if their findings will be available for everyone to read," he said, urging the state government to provide open scholarships to those interested in conducting research on important aspects of Odia language and literature.
Because if the state government selects only two to three people to work in this field, their findings will be available for everyone to read, reasoned the Dutch scholar. "If the government is paying for research, the work done by researchers, the text and photographs should be freely available on public domain for the benefit of all," he added.