Bani Prakash

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BANI PRAKASH or Guru Bani Prakash is a dictionary of the Guru Granth Sahib compiled by Sodhi Teja Singh. According to the author, he started working on it in December 1928, and got it printed in 1932 at the Phulwari Press, Lahore. The original version of the dictionary, according to the author, was based on the Faridkot Tika of Guru Granth Sahib, but subsequently he incorporated into it a considerable amount of more material from further study of exegetical and lexical works in the field of Sikh learning.

The Bani Prakash is not a dictionary containing vocables arranged in alphabetical, or some other order; rather, it provides explanation of difficult words and phrases on a given page of Sikh scripture, the Guru Granth Sahib. Selections of words and phrases have been liberally made and in places very simple words have been chosen for explanation. As could expectably happen in a pagewise dictionary, repetitions abound. The author has evolved his own technique of arranging entries.

The relevant page of the Scripture is printed in bold figures on the top and then entries from that page are placed in runon style. The portion of first line of the shabad (hymn) from which succeeding entries are taken is followed by the word/phrase entries in bold print with the connotation recorded in smaller type, after the mathematical symbol (=). The connotations recorded are generally, in line with the Singh Sabha school of thought and the language used is simple, unadorned Punjabi.

The author is not fully conversant with the grammar of old Punjabi which was synthetic to some extent, and many nouns had case-endings attached to them. The significance of these case-endings has not been understood and the lexical entries, in many cases, have been recorded without these inflexions, resulting in the loss of clarity. An index of the initial line of each shabad (hymn), arranged in alphabetical order is given in the beginning. At the end there is a short glossary of theological and mythological terms, requiring detailed exposition and explanation.

Additional information has been provided wherever necessary in the form of footnotes. The dictionary, although physically short and handy, is fairly exhaustive in its coverage and analysis. In spite of certain obvious shortcomings, the work has its utility. It certainly is helpful to the reader who finds all the important terms occurring in the page he is reading collected and explained at one place.