Archive for September 2012

Translation 37. Arvind and Kusum Kumar’s magnum opus: the Bilingual Hindi and English Thesaurus

22 September 2012

Although a visit to the Arvind Lexicon website will instantly reward students, dictionary enthusiasts and lexicographers with the fascinating and inspiring story of the lifelong achievement of Arvind and Kusum Kumar (with the later assistance of their son, Sumeet, and daughter, Meeta Lall), it is my great pleasure to share the thrill of my very recent discovery of this extraordinary product of determined devotion and scholarship. The Kumar’s bilingual Hindi and English Thesaurus and Dictionary (and its recent online version) is the fruit of 39 years of patient pioneering work.

Timeline:
1952
Arvind discovers Peter Roget’s Thesaurus and hopes to see a Hindi version.
1973 (December)
Since there is still no Hindi version, Arvind tells his wife, Kusum, that he must make one. Together they begin the labour.
1996
23 years later, the Samantar Kosh (Parallel Dictionary) is published.

Backed by the database and programming skills of their son Dr Sumeet Kumar, Arvind and Kusum redouble their efforts to produce a bilingual version, a Hindi and English Thesaurus, which is finally published in 2007, in 3 volumes by Penguin: The Penguin English-Hindi/Hindi-English Thesaurus and Dictionary.

Since then, they have formed a family business (Arvind Linguistics with Meeta Lall as CEO) to update and market their printed works and have more recently added an online version, in two formats: a generous free sample, which anyone may access by registering and, for more advanced students, writers, journalists, scholars – and bloggers- a full version at a reasonable annual subscription. It is very practical and endlessly fascinating and I shall benefit greatly from its use.

Google reveals many reviews of Arvind’s work (some also linked from the website) but the most recent references to this inspiring undertaking are:
The award of the Shalaka Samman prize last year in Delhi and a very recent article in The Hindu by Swati Daftuar, ‘An Endless Road of Words’ (8 September 2012).

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