An internet portal of enormous and invaluable treasure of documents, books and manuscripts by Rev. Dr. Hermann Gundert, the revolutionary missionary of Basel Mission who made a great impact not only on the planting and growth of the Protestant mission in the Northern Kerala and the Southern Karnataka, but also on the Malayalam, Kannada, and Tulu Literature, and influenced the social matrix in these areas against caste-based discriminations, was formally inaugurated in a function at the Historical Reading Room of the Tubingen University Library. Rev. Dr. Gundert wrote a comprehensive English- Malayalam Dictionary in 1872 and even wrote a solid book on Malayalam Grammar. The function, which was held in the evening on 20th November 2018, was rich with the presence of the great grandchildren of the great missionary, Theologians, Professors of Universities, and many South Indians.
Dr. Gabriele Zeller (Subject Specialist, Tubingen University Library) introduced the project, which is is the result of a DFG funded project that started in 2016 at the Tübingen University Library. Prof. Dr. Heike Oberlin spoke about the process behind this project and its relevance for Indology and beyond. There were greetings from Dr. Marianne Dorr (Chief Librarian, Tubingen University), Prof. Dr. Jurgen Leonhardt (Dean of the Faculty of Philosophy, University of Tubingen), and Dr. Albrecht Frenz (Founder of the Hermann- Gundert-Gesellschaft).
Prof. Dr. Sreenathan, Malayalam University, Tirur in Kerala, spoke elaborately on the contributions of Rev. Dr. Hermann Gundert to the South Indian society and the works of literature. One of the major focuses of the meeting was the presentation of Mr. Shiju Alex in absentia, who had taken up the herculean task of initiating the discussion to start the project and managing the Unicode conversion of the Malayalam printed documents, both letterpress and lithography press books. About 24,000 pages close to 125 books are converted to Unicode. Being the coordinator of Team India in this project, His presentation titled ‘The Kerala Archives Interest Group and the Importance of 19th Century Malayalam Works for Kerala, was highly informative and well- received by the audience. Another Keralite, Mr. Manoj Ebenezer was also mentioned for his contributions to this work.
Rev. Sunil Raj Philip, the Director of the Communication Department of the Church of South India (CSI)Synod, expressed the appreciation of the CSI on this invaluable project, and pointed out the importance of bringing together the church historians of the various missional traditions of CSI under one umbrella, in his informal meeting with the organisers of the event. He pointed out the fact that the Church of South India and the people in South India are indebted immensely to the contributions of Rev. Dr. Hermann Gundert.
The portal http://www.gundert-portal.de/ is freely accessible worldwide.
More details about Rev. Dr. Hermann Gundert can be read here:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hermann_Gundert