IIT Researchers to offer an AI-based one-stop repository on Mahatma Gandhi

M Somasekar | | Updated on: Nov 28, 2019

Gandhipedia will be an exhaustive portal for browsing the life, literature, contributions and his social network

Gandhipedia, a one-stop repository on the life and times as well as the contributions of Mahatma Gandhi, is being created with the help of Artificial Intelligence (AI), by Indian researchers.

Commemorating the 150th birth anniversary of MK Gandhi, it will be an exhaustive portal for browsing the life, literature, contributions and his social network.

The venture is the collaborative effort of the IIT KGP (Kharagpur) has joined hands with National Council of Science Museums and IIT Gandhinagar.

The phase I of the project will involve digitisation and indexing of 40 plus books of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi which will be released and searchable on the portal. The books will be further used to reconstruct the social network, including his influencers and people whom he inspired.

“We will initially use his book ‘My Experiments with Truth’ for reconstructing the social network. This work would require AI enabled tools to read the indexed and digitized version. The results will be visualised by the modern powerful network visualisation tools and a dashboard of network statistics,” said Animesh Mukherjee from IIT Kharagpur’s Depatment of Computer Science and Engineering who is leading the project.

The Phase 1, to be completed by March 2020, will also involve launching of social bots on Twitter that can regularly post text excerpts from Gandhiji’s works and observe how these posts spread over the social media. “There will be two types of bots -- (a) event agnostic and (b) event specific bots. In the event specific case, as a first pilot we shall consider a crisis event 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 explained.

The total project will have four more phases continuing year wise till March 2024. These phases would involve increasing the number of digitised publications by processing 100 volumes of collected works of Gandhi, each volume containing several letters, speeches, etc and further scaling up the social network construct for all of these hundred books.

The researchers, which include 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 namely Hindi, Marathi, Bengali, and Tamil on Twitter. This would need Indian language translation technologies for obtaining high quality translations of the Gandhian excerpts.

In the later phases of the project the researchers have plans to include similar digitised works (books, writings, thesis, chapters etc) of other freedom fighters to mark the 75th year of independence. This would include eminent freedom fighters/leaders i.e Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, Lal Bahadur Shastri, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Lala Lajpat Rai, Chandrashekhar Azad and Bhagat Singh. Similar social networks like Gandhiji shall be built for these freedom fighters to visualize the spatio-temporal dynamics of their relationships with different people over their lifetime.

Published on November 28, 2019
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