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Stamp Issued to Honor Sanskrit Grammarian Panini -

Jagat - Fri, 10 Sep 2004 06:46:34 +0530
Stamp Issued to Honor Sanskrit Grammarian Panini

The Department of Posts has released a postage stamp today in commemoration of Indiaís Heritage in Grammar and Mathematics which was influenced by the accomplishments of Panini, one of the greatest grammarians of all time whose work revolutionised the use of language not only in India but also in the rest of the world. The stamp is in the denomination of Rs. 5.

Panini, whose lifetime was believed to be between 520 BC and 460 BC, was born in Shalatula, a town near Taxilla on the Indus river in the present-day North-West Province in Pakistan. Though the dates given for Paniniís birth range from the seventh to fourth century BC, it is believed he was born about 520 BC.

Paniniís brilliant account of the structure of the Sanskrit language seeks to provide a complete, maximally concise and theoretically consistent analysis. It unfolds a theory of human language where the infinite language is generated by finite grammar which modern linguistic acknowledges as the complete, generative grammar of any language yet written.

Panini gives formal production rules and definitions to describe Sanskrit grammar. There are four major components of his grammar (I) Astadhyayi or Astaka (ii) Sivasutras, (iii) Dhatupatha and (iv) Ganapatha. Today, Paniniís grammar has been compared to Euclidís geometry and his constructions can be seen as comparable to modern definitions of a mathematical function. Paniniís rules are said to be perfect-that is, they perfectly describe the Sanskrit morphology, and are regarded as so clear that computer scientists have made use of them to teach computers to understand Sanskrit. Panini uses metarules, transformations and recursion in such sophistication that his grammar has the computing power equivalent to a Turing machine. In this sense Panini may be considered the father of computing machines.