María Moliner Tendiendo palabras (2017)
Indo Cine Appreciation Foundation in association with the Consulate of Spain in Chennai is organizing a festival of Spanish films under the them “Made by Women”. The festival began with a screening of a short film Miss Wamba that was about a lady with a heavy past behind her, stealing in funerals.
The main film for the day was a documentary about a lady María Moliner (2017). As the movie started, it didn’t interest me, as I was clueless – what was it about and who was this person María Moliner? Many people were speaking on camera about a lady who through her hard work and education, started her career in a male-dominated society of the 1930s as a secretary, then became a librarian with a passion for helping people everywhere in Spain to open public libraries, she even had written a technical document on how to set up libraries that were like a handbook for many decades. Then, they started about her claim to fame – she was the lady who had written one of the most popular dictionaries of the Spanish language. Single-handedly for more than 15-years she had worked in producing Spanish Usage Dictionary (Diccionario de uso del español), which got first published in 1966–1967. Her dictionary was different from the prevailing ones – in the initial edition the words were not even in strict alphabetic order for a reason – it had synonyms, usage and even related words. Initially, the dictionary became more popular in Hispanic regions than in Spain, because of it being mentioned by Nobel Laureate Mr Gabriel García Márquez who wrote One Hundred Years of Solitude (1967).
Growing up, I have observed my father, who was the publisher of a famous Dictionary (LIFCO English-Tamil Dictionary) in Tamil Nadu (India) I became intrigued as the film progressed. I wish there were works like this, that document the early dictionaries (or Tamil encyclopedia அஷ்டாவதானம் வீராசாமி செட்டியார் எழுதிய விநோத ரச மஞ்சரி) that came in various Indian languages in the last 200-300 years.