Prakrits, called the “Middle Indo-Aryan Languages”, true to their name, are the link between the so called “Old Indo-Aryan Languages” i.e. the ancient Indian languages and the “New Indo-Aryan Languages” i.e. modern Indian languages. They were the common parlance of people in their respective ages and a few Prakrits like the Ardhamagadhi, Maharashtri, etc. enjoyed the status of preaching language of Jainism.
Inaugurated on the 23rd February 1988 at the hands of the late R. Venkataraman, HE President of India, The Prakrit Dictionary heads at preparation of a dictionary of all the six Prakrit languages of ancient India. It tries to trace the development of the Prakrits and their daughter languages through the study of lexemes.
Under the able leadership of the General Editors, the late Prof. A. M. Ghatage (1988 to 2004) and Dr. R. P. Poddar (since 2004 till date), 3 volumes of The Prakrit Dictionary comprising over 1300 pages (demi-quarto size) have been published so far. These contain about 33,600 lexemes ranging from ‘a’ to ‘ujjhittu’
The Prakrit Dictionary is proposed to contain about 90000 entries in total referring to about 450 texts. The source material for this gigantic dictionary has been collected in an archive of over 600000 reference slips. The details of the material are as follows:
(1) Scriptorium: 6,00,000+ slips (subject to extension up to 10,00,000)
(2) Reference Texts: 450
(3) Departmental Library: 1000+ books (300000+ pages; many of the books are old and rare)