THE BICHITRA PROJECT
The Bichitra Tagore Online Variorum Project was sanctioned by the Government of India as part of its programme for the celebration of Rabindranath Tagore’s 150th birth anniversary. It has been fully funded by the Ministry of Culture, Government of India.
The project has been executed by the School of Cultural Texts and Records, Jadavpur University, Kolkata. Most of the material was sourced from Rabindra-Bhavana, Santiniketan. The digital images were prepared by C-DAC. Other project partners who have contributed material include the Bangiya Sahitya Parishat; the Central Library, Calcutta University; the Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta; the Houghton Library, Harvard University; the Indian National Library; the Central Library, Jadavpur University; and private collectors.
Bichitra is the biggest integrated knowledge site devoted to any author in any language to date. It comprises most versions of nearly all Rabindranath’s works in Bengali and English. It excludes most letters, speeches, textbooks and translations, except Tagore’s translations from his own Bengali. It includes
- digital images of virtually all his manuscripts and authoritative print versions (books and journals): 47,520 pages of manuscripts and 91,637 pages of printed books and journals
- plain-text transcripts of all these versions
- a search engine to locate words and phrases in Rabindranath’s works
- a collation engine to compare different versions of a work at three levels: chapter (in a long prose work) or act/scene (in a play); paragraph (in prose) or stanza (in verse); detailed wording
- a checklist of the contents of each manuscript
- a bibliography of all authoritative manuscript and print versions of each work
The project was co-ordinated by Sukanta Chaudhuri, Professor Emeritus, Jadavpur University, with Sankha Ghosh, poet and former Professor of Bengali, Jadavpur University, as adviser. A team of 30 project staff worked for two years to process the material and create the website, alongside many other consultants, advisers and contributors.
A brief video presentation on the project can be seen here: http://youtu.be/GRNT9pf-sWA