It took a total of 90,640 words for the Braille version of the bilingual dictionary ‘Hemkosh’, the first etymological dictionary of the Assamese language to create history and enter the famed Guinness Book of World Records on Monday, April 24.
The process of creating the record began on April 20 (Thursday) and went on till April 22 (Saturday) at the Government of Assam Braille Press at Latakata in Guwahati’s Basistha area.
The entire process to print the Braille version of the ‘Hemkosh’ dictionary began last year when Sadin-Pratidin Group proprietor Jayanta Baruah had the idea to carry forward the family legacy and make it inclusive for the visually impaired people. Jayanta Baruah comes from the family of Hemchandra Baruah, who is known for having compiled the first ever version of Hemkosh in the early 20th century.
The Guinness World Record was attempted on two fronts, that is, for dimensions including length, breadth and height along with the combined weight of all volumes and parts of the Braille dictionary Hemkosh, and the word count, that is the number of words in all of the volumes.
The measurement of dimensions included stacking all the volumes together and measuring the length and breadth using a total station. Then each volume was measured individually using a measuring tape. The weight was measured for each volume individually using a commercial digital weighing machine. All provisions for the record prescribed by the Guinness World Records were followed.
Meanwhile, the word count was done manually which included the participation of visually impaired people as well. While they expertly ran their fingers and took down the number of words on each page of the Braille version of Hemkosh, another person sitting beside them noted the number down in digits for general understanding.
The efforts were vindicated on Monday evening when Guinness World Records recognized the Braille version of Hemkosh as being officially the ‘Largest bilingual Braille dictionary’ in the world, after scrutinizing video and photographic evidence submitted in due process.
Speaking about the achievement, the Managing Director (Business) Pratidin Media Network, Rishi Baruah said on Twitter, “I’m thrilled to inform that ‘Hemkosh’s Braille Dictionary’ is the world’s largest bilingual braille dictionary with 90,640 words as recognised by @GWR. Guinness World Record. Blessed to have support from all well wishers.”
It may be noted that following its publication last year, Hemkosh became South-East Asia’s first Braille version of a dictionary. It was officially inaugurated by the former Assam Governor Prof Jagdish Mukhi in Guwahati on September 16, 2022. He had lauded Jayanta Baruah’s effort and his decision to donate copies of the dictionary to educational institutions and blind schools across Assam.
Later that year, the Prime Minister Narendra Modi also received a copy of the Braille Hemkosh for his esteemed office from Jayanta Baruah in presence of Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and Union minister Sarbananda Sonowal.
In a subsequent episode of the PM’s ‘Mann Ki Baat’ program, the Prime Minister lauded Jayanta Baruah for this noble effort. “I hugely appreciate this sensitive effort. These kinds of efforts will greatly help augmenting skills and capabilities of our Divyang friends,” he had said.
In December that year, CM Himanta Biswa Sarma, while speaking at the Achievers Awards function in Guwahati organized by Pratidin Media Network, said that Jayanta Baruah had fulfilled his responsibility towards the society.
CM Sarma had said, “The ‘Hemkosh’ has been playing the role of a guiding pillar through the ages. I would like to thank Mr. Jayanta Baruah for gifting us with the Braille version of ‘Hemkosh’. Mr. Baruah has fulfilled his responsibility towards society by publishing South-East Asia's first Braille dictionary.”
Meanwhile, following the achievement, Twitter is abuzz with people commenting on it. Former Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, Assam cabinet minister Ranjeet Kumar Dass, All Assam Students' Union (AASU) Chief Advisor Samujjal Bhattacharjya and Assam Jatiya Parishad Chief Lurinjyoti Gogoi are among those to have shared their pride at the achievement.
Here's a look at what people said: