This has given Hassan institute impetus to submit proposal on varsity status to govt.

The panel constituted by the State government, under the chairmanship of writer Baragur Ramachandrappa, to form a cultural policy has recommended setting up a centre for studies in Prakrit and Pali languages.

The recommendation, in a way, has strengthened the long-pending demand to give the National Institute of Prakrit Studies and Research, set up by Jain Math of Shravanbelgola in 1993, university status. The demand has been presented before the State and Union governments for the last 10 years. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, who inaugurated Mahamastakabhisheka celebrations in 2006, had expressed a similar opinion in his address.

Sri Charukeerthi Bhattaraka Swamiji of Jain Math established the national institute. Shankar Dayal Sharma, the then President, inaugurated the institute, which has over the years established a name for itself in the field of research in Prakrit.

The institute has collected more than 5,000 palm leaf manuscripts, many of which are centuries old. “We offer correspondence courses in the institute. At present, around 1,000 students are enrolled for courses such as Prakrit Prathama (1 year), Prakrit Madhyama (2 years), Prakrit Visharada (3 years) and Prakrit Ratna (2 years).

“A total of 5,000 students have studied in the institute since its inception,” said Dr. Ramesh Chandra Jain, director of the institute.

So far, nine students of the institute have obtained doctoral degree from Mysore university, which has given recognition to the centre.

The institute, which was first established under the aegis of Shrutakevali Eduation Trust (R), is situated on 50 acres of land contributed by the Jain Math. Later, the institute was brought under the newly constituted Bahubali Prakrit Vidyapeetha. Now, it gets an annual grant of around Rs. 30 lakh from the State government.

Significant work

The institute has done significant work, including translating the Dhavala trilogy into Kannada. The trilogy comprises the commentaries on the ancient Prakrit text — Shatkhandagama.

“Under the leadership of the seer, 21 scholars translated the commentaries into Kannada, which were published in 39 volumes. The volumes are in three parts — Dhavala, Jaya Dhavala and Maha Dhavala. This is a monumental work completed by the institute,” said Shantisagar Shastri, a Prakrit scholar of the institute.

The institute honours two scholars every year with the Prakrit Jnanabharati International Award, which carries a purse of Rs. 2 lakh.

Following the recent recommendation by the panel on cultural policy, the institute is contemplating submitting one more proposal to the government.

Mr. Udaya Raju, executive officer of the institute, told The Hindu, “Our institute has done significant work in the field of studying Prakrit and collecting manuscripts. The institute deserves university status.”

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