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The institute where the controversy erupted

The Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute (BORI), Pune, was founded on July 6, 1917, to commemorate the work of Ramakrishna Gopal Bhandarkar, regarded as the one of the founders of scientific orientology in India.

mumbai Updated: Jul 10, 2010 00:52 IST
Yogesh Joshi

The Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute (BORI), Pune, was founded on July 6, 1917, to commemorate the work of Ramakrishna Gopal Bhandarkar, regarded as the one of the founders of scientific orientology in India.

A public organisation, the institute is administered by a regulating council and is partially supported by annual grants from the Government of Maharashtra. It also receives grants from the Centre, the University Grants Commission, various public trusts, and individual donors.

When BORI was founded, the then Government of Bombay Presidency handed over at least 20,000 manuscripts to the Institute. This original stock was enriched with the acquisition of another 10,000 manuscripts over the years.

The manuscripts, on birch bark, palm leaf, and paper, are on a wide range of subjects, and are written in various scripts.

The institute takes pride in being the possessor of some very old and unique paper manuscripts. Its library possesses a rich collection of 1,05,000 books on orientology and regularly receives a number of research journals.

On January 5, 2004, 100 activists of Maratha outfit Sambhaji Brigade attacked the institute alleging that it had helped American author James W. Laine research his controversial book, Shivaji: Hindu King in Islamic India.

The book had caused furore due to allegedly derogatory remarks against Shivaji. The mob destroyed 18,000 books and 30,000 rare manuscripts.