The Indian Institutes of Technology in Kharagpur and Gandhinagar have collaborated with the National Council of Science Museums (NCSM) to develop ‘Gandhipedia’, an online repository of books, letters and speeches written by Mahatma Gandhi, to commemorate his 150th birth anniversary.

‘Gandhipedia’ will be a one-stop portal about Gandhian literature, life-events and his social network and the entire project will be done with the help of Artificial Intelligence (AI), an IIT Kharagpur statement said on Friday.

Professor Animesh Mukherjee, Department of Computer Science and Engineering who is leading the project in IIT Kharagpur, said, “Gandhi’s ‘My Experiments with Truth’ will be the first book to be digitised. This work would require AI enabled tools to read the indexed and digitised version of any book and content. The results will be visualised by the modern powerful network visualisation tools and a dashboard of network statistics.”

In the first phase, over 40 books written by Mahatma Gandhi will be digitised and indexed and their portions tweeted, the IIT Kharagpur press release said. The books will be used to reconstruct the social network of the Mahatma, including those who had influenced him and people whom he had inspired, the statement added.

Further, Mukherjee said, “It will also involve the launch of social bots on Twitter that can regularly post text excerpts from Gandhi’s works and observe how these posts spread over social media. It was learnt that there will be two types of bots including event agnostic and event specific bots. In the event specific case, as a first pilot, we shall consider a crisis and try to check whether the social bots are able to reduce the spread of hatred, fear and trauma among the public by injecting positive and motivating thoughts from the writings of the Mahatma.”

Mukherjee, who is leading the project, said a total of 100 works of Mahatma Gandhi, including his letters and speeches, would be uploaded in the portal.

The first phase of the ‘Gandhipedia’ project is expected to be completed by March next year followed by four more phases till March, 2024.

The researchers, including Professor Mayank Singh and Professor T S Kumbar from IIT Gandhinagar, are aiming to launch social bots that can post Gandhian text excerpts in multiple Indian languages including Hindi, Marathi, Bengali, and Tamil on Twitter. To realise this, it would need Indian language translation technologies for obtaining high quality translations of the Gandhian excerpts.

Professor Mayank Singh, said, “We hope to include a research work on Gandhi, 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.”

Plans are there to launch similar projects for other freedom fighters including Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, Lal Bahadur Shastri, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Lala Lajpat Rai, Chandrashekhar Azad and Bhagat Singh.

Dr Shobhana Radhakrishna, Chief Functionary at Gandhian Forum for Ethical Corporate Governance, said, “Gandhipedia will reinforce learning from an unbiased and un-opinionated real time insights easily regarding Gandhian values which are uplifting, motivating, revolutionising and tailored to the needs of the browser.”

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