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Home > News > PTI

Saving 50 lakh ancient records!

March 26, 2005 14:35 IST

The National Mission for Manuscripts have estimated that nearly 50 lakh ancient scriptures were found lying neglected in numerous pockets of the country.

This makes India the largest storehouse of the 'records of yore' in the world. And the count is not the final tally, says Sudha Gopalakrishnan, director of the mission. The digitisation of the survey began from January 15 this year.

The mission was established in 2003 by the Ministry of Culture to attend to the unkempt manuscripts.

The 50 lakh included manuscripts that were digitised and documented such as the 500 manuscripts of the 6,000 stored at the Iqbal Library in Srinagar and 85 manuscripts of 1,000 Kudiyattam manuscripts from Kerala.

Their pilot survey in three states -- Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Orissa -- revealed seven lakh manuscripts. And of the interesting volumes that they came across include a copy of the Mahabharata and Quran.

The survey in 30 districts of Orissa, 13 districts of Uttar Pradesh and 10 districts of Bihar was carried out through a well-defined strategy involving around 2,700 people.

"We involved students and teachers in our drive to find the scriptures. They then searched the villages in the districts - in libraries, temples, monastries and madrassas for the texts," says Gitanjali, co-ordinator of the survey.

Around 17,857 repositories were found in Orissa, most of them containing texts of the 'tantric' thought. From Unnao in UP about 25,000 manuscripts were procured.

The mission also identified 3,500 manuscripts from the Orissa State Museum, 4,000 Vaishnavite manuscripts from Majuli Islands in Assam and 6,500 manuscripts from Tamil Nadu about Siddha stream of medicine, according to a report.


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