Sunil Khandbahale did not know how to use a dictionary. He is now the proud creator of digital dictionaries in all 22 vernacular languages.
Sunil Khandbahale is a picture of unassuming self-assurance and eager observation. For a man who has garnered much acclaim for creating online and mobile-based dictionaries for all the officially recognised Indian languages, he looks around with some awe at the interiors of the Le Meridien hotel in Chennai, where he was invited to speak about his work at INK 2013. “This is the first time I have sat in a plane,” he reveals with a smile, “I was more worried about checking in and buckling my seatbelt than the actual talk.”
Sunil, one of three children from a farming family in Mahiravani, near Nashik, says that he is the first in his family to have received complete formal education. “My parents were not financially well off, but they were determined to educate us. I originally wanted to become a painter but because I got good grades I was sent to an engineering college to study instrumentation,” he says.
For Sunil, who had studied in Marathi medium till then, the Government Polytechnic of Ahmednagar was a challenge. He was one among the minority who did not speak English, a factor that prompted some of the other students to leave the course and made Sunil consider the same. “I was on the brink of quitting but I remembered the sacrifices my parents had made to educate me and I could not give up on them. When I approached a professor with my problem, he suggested I get a dictionary. I found it to be a strange word and did not know what to do about it,” Sunil says.
Sunil did eventually learn its meaning and procured a dictionary, spending hours making notes and learning new words. By the time his course ended, Sunil was surprised to learn that he was among the few who had passed. The achievement led him to think that his friends who had left the course would have stood a better chance had they also had access to a dictionary. “The dictionary was my friend, and that friendship had helped me see that day. So I started making photocopies of my dictionary, with all my notes and observations, but the reach was limited. I then considered printing it as a booklet but that raised a lot of new costs I could not bear. This was in 1997, and computers were becoming popular, so I decided a digital dictionary was the way to go,” he reminisces.
After overcoming his lack of software know how (by sitting in a room with a borrowed computer and books for the better part of six months), Sunil finally released an online English-Marathi-English dictionary, the first of its kind. The venture met with much praise and soon Sunil was flooded with requests for more languages, which he promptly obliged, “Though my personal expertise could only be used for Marathi, Hindi and English, I soon reached out to linguists and experts in various fields for help, mostly at universities. When they saw that I wanted to create a linguistic community, they were immediately on board, asking for nothing in return.”
Sunil and his team have now created dictionaries for all vernacular languages to English and vice-versa, with around 22 languages to their credit.
However, he is far from done with his efforts, with his dream being a global linguistic community. “I have a four-stage plan; the first is to create dictionaries for all officially recognised languages, the second to cover all vernacular languages and dialects, because there are so many, in the third stage we plan to include international languages and the final stage is to integrate all this together into a collective where English is not needed as a link and users can directly translate from one language to another.”
And how many of these stages has he completed? “One so far, and it took me 13 years,” he says with a smile, before adding, “but now things should move faster thanks to all the help I am getting.” He says many interesting things as he speaks about his work, but his parting words are perhaps the ones that sum him up best, “The world is full of good people who are ready to help, all you need is a good cause.”
More information and the setup files for his dictionaries can be found at his website khandbahale.com (Android and Java enabled devices). Android users can also do a quick search for ‘Khandbahale’ on the Play Store for a list of all Sunil’s dictionaries.
- What is ‘My Dictionary’? (theparchmentalist.wordpress.com)
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A total of 23 students from Sri Shirdi Sai School Kadiyam and Rajahmundry branches were selected for All India Maths Olympiad going to be held in New Delhi on October 26. In a press release, the Correspondent of the School, T. Paleswara Rao, Director T. Sridhar and Principal T. Srividya congratulated the students who won at regional level test and got entry into the All India competition.
Teachers are in charge of building the children of the society as the future citizens of the country. On 5th SEPTEMBER of every year as a National function in India it is celebrated as Teachers day. It is national function in India.
Our late President Sri.Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan advised the countrymen to stop to observe 5th September as his birthday, but to observe it is as Teacher’s day. Since the year 1962 – 5th September is celebrated as Teacher’s day because he was one of our former President’s and he was an Ideal Teacher.
To honour that NOBLE profession we celebrate this day as “TEACHER’S DAY”
BE PROUD TO BE TEACHER ….
Once again to all Respectable teachers in India and Across the Globe —– from our hearts on-behalf of all humans we are wishing ” Happy TEACHERS DAY.
The project of Sri prakash Vidyaniketan students ,degrading plastics naturally received praise at the 46th Joint school Exhibition held in Hong kong couple of days ago.
The students of class x Mr.Sourav Naik and Pratyush Harsh bagged certificates of Achievement for their Project. People from different countries appreciated the project which was designed in the view of ” SAVING EARTH”.
The joint school science exhibition presentation committee invited selected countries to participate and India is one among them. During 2012 Children’s Science and maths festival, a senior advisor of this activity who visited Sri prakash Vidyaniketan, admired the presentations of the projects and scientific exploration by the ” sri prakash young scientists” and sent a special invitation for the school’s participation at the HONG KONG exhibition.
The team of Sri Prakash Vidyaniketan was headed by Prof.Sudhakar.c.Agarkar and the Director of the school Mr.CH.Vasu Prakash.