Encyclopaedia of Indian Literature: Vol 5
- Author: Indra Nath Choudhuri
- Publisher: Sahitya Akademi
As we complete this volume, we virtually come to the end of the Encyclopaedia of Indian Literature publication project. Of course, there will be the usual last volume (Vol. VI) of indices and cross-references, which will also carry additional entries that should have been there in earlier volumes, but had to be left out partly due to oversight but mostly due to reasons beyond our control.
Perhaps this is an opportune time to look back in retrospect. The momentum that Professor Amaresh Datta, erstwhile Chief Editor, gave to the project by bringing out the first volume in l887 has thus been carried to its logical conclusion in 1992. It is way back in the seventies that the idea of publishing an Encyclopaedia of Indian Literature was? First mooted. The plan was to bring in its ambit everything significant in Indian literature - ancient, medieval and modem - by involving a large number of scholars and writers from all Indian languages, We were well aware that the work was foundational in nature and that the limitations and constraints were many, for the material for a work of such magnitude would be explored for the first time in India. We were also aware that in spite of the best efforts of all concerned, such a pioneering venture could not perhaps be totally error-free and criticism-proof.
These considerations, however, did not deter the Akademi from launching the project. The original plan was to complete the work in two volumes of approximately 1000 pages each. But as the work progressed, we were overwhelmed by the wealth of material gradually garnered. Soon it became evident that the number of volumes would have to be increased to accommodate all these materials. What was more important was that the materials received were not just routine literary essays or accidental fragments of literary information. Amalgamated and collated together, they turned out to be highly significant documents throwing new light on and allowing new insight into our sensitive literary heritage. Naturally, this was quite a jolt for our original modest plan. But the whole Encyclopaedia Unit rose to the occasion. With a feverish excitement the Unit went to work evolving innovative methods for sharing with the readers this new knowledge about the development of Indian literature through ages.