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Now, a census of rare scriptures!

M Chhaya in Kolkata | June 01, 2005 13:44 IST

You have heard of human census, tiger census or even crocodile census, but now the Indian government is all set to carry out a queer census of ancient scriptures.

Thousands of old and rare scriptures -- which throw light on our society -- are believed to be stored in many government offices. For hundreds of these scriptures deciphered, there are thousands that are yet to be studied and researched.

And most of these are in bad condition. Many have been lost owing to lack of care.

The Centre has ordered the preparation of an inventory of such rare scriptures that may be stored in libraries, state offices or private collection.

Ratna Basu of the Calcutta University's scripture department, who is involved in preparing the inventory in West Bengal, says they have come across many bundles of old scriptures written on palm leaves that have been all but destroyed due to negligence.

"We have found many ancient scriptures that have never been studied. We are trying to salvage these and advising on how to preserve them," Basu adds.

Officials associated with the project are looking into private collections to spot such 'hidden treasure of scriptures' across the country.

Private collections will be listed and their owners advised on their safekeeping.

Almost all districts of West Bengal, which once used to be small princely fiefdoms, have reported hundreds of ancient scriptures and officials of the census project are reaching these places for stocktaking.

Similar reports have come in from other states such as Bihar, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

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