Friday, June 2, 2023

Film pays homage to ‘Thesaurus Man’ Arvind Kumar

Arvind Kumar, the brain behind India’s first thesaurus “Samantar Kosh” in Hindi, began life as a typesetter at a printing press when he was only 15.
His life and work as a writer-journalist-lexicographer for over seven decades is now the subject of a 48-minute documentary film, directed by Sanjay Sharma and produced by Meeta Lall for Arvind Linguistics LLP, which was released on Tuesday here. Kumar later went on to lead several media publications, including Hindi film magazine “Madhuri” and Reader’s Digest’s Hindi edition, “Sarvottam”.
But his true legacy rests in the compilation of over 1,60,000 Hindi expressions after painstaking research of 20 years. It was published by National Book Trust in 1996.
The bilingual documentary, “Shabd Sarthi Arvind Kumar / Thesaurus Man Arvind Kumar”, traces his journey from the narrow lanes of Meerut where he was born in 1930 to his first job as a typesetter in a printing press and eventually becoming the youngest editor of Times of India’s “Madhuri” magazine at the age of 33.
It was his long-cherished dream to compile a thesaurus in Hindi that inspired him to quit his profession in 1978 and dedicate his time to the arduous endeavour.
The film shows glimpses of his journey that was supported by his wife Kusum Kumar, daughter Meeta Lall and son Sumeet Kumar.
After publishing “Samantar Kosh”, Kumar went on to link the Hindi database with the English language to create Arvind Lexicon Online, “the largest known repository of one million English and Hindi expressions”.
“At an age when most of us begin planning retirement, he dared to dream, and dedicated himself to his ambitious mission… The story of one man’s diligence, dedication and devotion. An inspiration for All,” the organisers said.
Kumar’s other lexicographic works include “Arvind Sahaj Samantar Kosh”, the first alphabetical Hindi thesaurus (2005); “Shabdeshwari”, a unique thesaurus of Indian mythological names (1999); “The Penguin English-Hindi/Hindi-English Thesaurus and Dictionary” (2007); “Brihat Samantar Kosh”, a revised and extended edition of Samantar Kosh (2013); “Arvind Word Power: English-Hindi”, a ready reference alphabetical dictionary, thesaurus and mini-encyclopedia (2015) and “Arvind Tukant Kosh”, a unique book of 57,000 rhyming words (2015).
For his contribution to lexicography, Kumar received the ‘Shalaka Samman’, ‘Subrhamanya Bharati Award’, ‘Akhil Bharati Hindi Sewa Puraskar’, and ‘Dr. Hardev Bahri Samman’. Kumar died of Covid-19 on April 26, 2021.


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