Budget 2019: Gandhipedia to take Gandhian philosophy to India's youth

The portal is set to be launched on October 2

Mahatma Gandhi addressing the members of the Indian National Army

In her 2019-20 budget speech as union finance minister, Nirmala Sitharaman announced that the government is working on an exhaustive online repository on Mahatma Gandhi called Gandhipedia. With its stated mission to propound Gandhian values among the youth, the portal is set to be launched on October 2 to coincide with the leader's 150th birth anniversary.

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Last year in September, President Ram Nath Kovind had launched the web portal http://gandhi.gov.in/ at Rashtrapati Bhawan. The portal was released along with a logo whose design was crowdsourced. The website invited organisations and individuals to submit their "Karyanjali" through an upload option. The karyanjali option refers to relevant commemorative material to supplement existing Gandhian literature, philosophy, audios, videos and rare photos. The same portal also has a section called Gandhipedia which has 100 volumes of The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi along with other books by and for Gandhi. This section, in line with the budget speech on Friday, is set to grow. Whether it will become a separate website like Wikipedia with its unique participatory model of editing is not clear. Also, the exact money allotted for the project has not been specified yet.  

On the 66th death anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi in 2014, a portal on "Mahatma Gandhi for children" was launched by Sam Pitroda, former advisor to the prime minister on public information infrastructure and innovations. Titled "Search for Gandhi", it was intended for children aged six to 15. The website doesn't exist as of now.

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The most definitive online treasure trove on Gandhi literature, considered the world's largest, is maintained by Sabarmati Ashram Preservation and Memorial Trust called Gandhi Heritage Portal whose basic structure is developed around The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi (100 volumes), Gandhiji No Akshar Deha(82 volumes) and Sampoorna Gandhi Vangmaya(97 volumes). First editions of key texts include Hind Swaraj, Satyagraha in South Africa, An Autobiography or The Story of My Experiments with Truth, etc., apart from electronic versions of journals like Indian Opinion, Navajiva, Young India and complete Gandhi papers from the National Archives. The gallery section has audio, visual and film material apart from caricature, paintings and postage stamps. When it was launched on September 2013 by then prime minister Manmohan Singh, it had received an exclusive grant of Rs 7.5 crore. It had five lakh pages of verified information at its inception which has only grown ever since.

How Gandhipedia will add and generate more authentic content is something we will learn in the coming days.