The project

Team

Pandit is headed by Professor Yigal Bronner at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Our tech person and Drupal master is Amir Simantov from TopDownUp. Omer Kesler, a PhD candidate at the Hebrew University, participated in the project in its early years and, among other things, made sure that both of our data imports went smoothly. Andrew Ollett helped with importing data from SKSEC and continues to provide his important advice to Pandit. Enrico Attas was in charge of our original web design. Sheldon Pollock and Karl Potter were key in enabling the importation of data from SKSEC and the Encyclopedia of Indian Philosophy Bibliography, respectively. Jonathan Peterson, Sukshmadarshi Maharaj, and Anusha Sudindra Rao from the University of Toronto are the main contributors to the import of data from the BORI Vedānta catalogs and assisting them are Danielle Chen, Sivan Goren, and Ofer Peres from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

We are in the process of establishing a large editorial board for Pandit.

Funding

Several funding agencies have made Pandit possible and have allowed it to continue to be viable. Pandit was established thanks to a grant from the Israel Science Foundation (ISF) that supported Yigal Bronner’s research project “Appayya Dīkṣita: The Many Identities of an Early Modern South Indian Intellectual” (Grant No. 1485/12). The collaborations with SKSEC and SARIT and the first import of data from SKSEC were partly supported by a grant Professor Sheldon Pollock received from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). “The Age of Vedānta” project is supported by a grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), for which Professor Ajay Rao is the principal investigator. Pandit is also seeking the support of other funding agencies to help it carry out its mission in the future.

History

Pandit began as a niche database in connection with a highly focused research project started in 2012 by Yigal Bronner: “Appayya Dīkṣita: The Many Identities of an Early Modern South Indian Intellectual” (supported by a generous grant from the Israel Science Foundation; Grant No. 1485/12). The original idea of the database was to account for all of Appayya Dīkṣita’s one hundred works, related works, and the people and places to which he and his works were tied. But in the course of building the database we realized that our data fields and their matrix of interrelations can easily house an archive far bigger than we initially imagined. Indeed, it became clear that despite our modest intentions, the database took on a life of its own, primarily because of the unique continuity of Indic intellectual history, wherein every work from the sixteenth century contained allusions to numerous texts and authors going back nearly three millennia.

We thus made a decision to expand the mission of the project and populate the database with data from existing caches and storages. As a pilot, we imported the archive of the Sanskrit Knowledge Systems on the Eve of Colonialism (SKSEC), a pioneering initiative headed by Professor Sheldon Pollock (Columbia University, head of SKSEC). With Pollock’s approval and support, this first import was successfully completed in early 2015. The second import was far more ambitious and required some changes in Pandit’s structure and a lot of hard work. We undertook to import Karl Potter’s massive “Bibliography of Indian Philosophies,” a rich, highly reliable, and, until about 2015, constantly updated list of works, persons, and related secondary sources in the different philosophical traditions of South Asia. We began working on this import in 2015 with Professor Potter’s approval, and the the complete set of data was imported into Pandit on June 1, 2016, although the full assimilation of Potter’s data into Pandit’s structure and existing data occupied our efforts and attention till the end of 2016.

In 2015 Pandit entered a collaboration with the “Age of Vedānta” project headed by Professors Ajay Rao (University of Toronto) and Lawrence McCrea (Cornell). Graduate students working with professors Rao and McCrea enter data on what during the second millennium CE became the dominant school of thought within Hinduism. The data-entry phase of this contribution began during the summer of 2016. The team working on this project, headed by Jonathan Peterson from the University of Toronto, has completed entering the first out of three printed volumes that make up BORI’s descriptive catalog on Vedānta: 377 manuscripts that belong to about 200 works have been entered, as well as 1515 extracts and various other related entities (authors, scribes, etc.). Overall, a third of the dataset has been successfully imported, and we hope to complete the work by the summer of 2019.