On July 6, 1915 at a meeting of people interested in Orientology,
it was decided to found the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute in commemoration of
Ramakrishna Gopal Bhandarkar's outstanding work in the field of Orientology.
The Bhandarkar Oriental Institute, Pune was founded on July 6, 1917 to
commemorate the name and work of Ramakarishna Gopal Bhandarkar, who may
be justifiably regarded as the foremost pioneer of scientific orientology in this country.
The event was intended to synchronize with the savant's eightieth birth-anniversary. The
Institute is a public organization registered under Act XXI of 1860, and is administered
by a regulating council. It is partially supported by annual earmarked grants from the
Maharashtra Government which nominates five representatives on the regulating council and
two on the executive board. The Institute has also received grants from the Government of
India and the University Grants Commission for specific research projects.
The Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute normally works through its
four main Departments: 1. Mahabharata and Research Unit. 2. Manuscripts. 3.
Publication and 4. Post-Graduate Teaching and Research.
In 1919, the Institute undertook to prepare and publish a critical
edition of the Mahabharata. This enormous literary project (19 volumes containing 13,000
demi quarto pages) was completed in 1966, and this historic event was formally announced
by the then Rashtrapati Dr. S. Radhakrishnan at a special function held at
Mahabharata Institute on Spetember 22, 1966.
Subsequently, the Institute also prepared and published a critical
edition of the Harivamsa (2 volumes containing 1,711 pages). This was followed by
the Pratika-Index (6 volumes containing 4,805 pages) and the Critically
Constituted Text of the Great Epic, and the Harivamsa (5 volumes containing 3,150
pages). The Institute is now occupied with the last item in the great project of the
Critical Edition, namely, the Epilogue , the Institute is preparing an exhaustive
Cultural Index of the Mahabharata, of which Vol. I (containing viii +
506 pages) has been published last year.
When the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute was founded in 1917,
the then Government of Bombay handed over its entire collection of manuscripts (nearly
20,000 manuscripts) to the Institute. The Institute has, all these years, been looking
after the preservation, lending out, and cataloguing of these manuscripts, and, as the
Government reports would testify, the work of the Institute in this connection has been