These messages - in all Indian languages - along with Gandhian literature, important events in his life and changing social network through his life, form part of a rare joint effort by researchers of two IITs and the National Council of Science Museums to develop 'Gandhipedia', a one-stop portal on the Father of the Nation.
Rare, for it involves convergence of the yore and cutting edge technology like Artificial Intelligence (AI). Also rare, for this effort aims to address the issue of trauma and stress among victims of natural and man-made disasters as well.
And, 'Gandhipedia', scheduled for completion by March 2020, will be the beginning, as researchers at IIT, Kharagpur and IIT, Gandhinagar, plan to work on digitized works of other freedom fighters- Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, Lal Bahadur Shastri, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Lala Lajpat Rai, Bhagat Singh and Chandrashekar Azad-to coincide with the 75th year of independence.
Prof Animesh Mukherjee, who is leading the project, explained that techniques of natural language processing (NLP) and AI-enabled tools would be used to extract relevant texts in Mahatma Gandhi's books, letters, speeches, and other published material in order to post the excerpts on social media. The tools would be employed for high quality translation as well.
“We will use Gandhian thoughts to make the social media a better place and stop communal hatred and bitterness which we are witnessing today. In the event of a crisis, we will try to check whether the social bots are able to reduce the spread of hatred, fear and trauma among people by projecting positive and motivating thoughts from the writings of Mahatma Gandhi,” he told Deccan Chronicle.
He said to start with, the team would start with digitization and indexing of 40-odd books of Gandhi, and scale it up one-phase-a-year till March 2024 to include 100 odd published works of Gandhian literature, life events and leaders who were source of inspiration from his childhood to his days in South Africa, and later during the freedom movement.
Prof Mayank Singh of IIT, Gandhinagar said: “We hope to include research work on Gandhiji which are otherwise not referred to in popular Gandhian literature.
The aim is to create a system that can be used by any age-group for understanding the life-events of Mahatma. It might present some very interesting serendipitous relations among different personalities, which are otherwise not yet explored or studied.” Literature for this unique project would be provided by the Ministry of Culture, New Delhi.