Culture ministry orders probe into ‘manuscript thefts’ in Rajasthan institute for over two decades
It is alleged that manuscripts were being stolen from RORI since 1989 and nothing was done by the authorities to stop thefts.india Updated: Jan 02, 2018 10:39 IST
The culture ministry has ordered a probe into the allegations of large-scale thefts of rare manuscripts from Rajasthan Oriental Research Institute (RORI).
It is alleged that manuscripts were being stolen from RORI since 1989 and nothing was done by the authorities to stop thefts.
The complaint was recently filed by one of the former senior research officers of the institute with the President’s secretariat. It was forwarded to the ministry for further action.
The ministry has asked the National Mission for Manuscripts to examine the matter at the earliest.
However, the RORI officials have termed the allegations as baseless, saying that a former research officer who got retired in 2015 levelled these allegations with biases.
RORI takes care of preservation, research and publication of manuscripts and assists researchers and holds seminars. It has a collection of about 1.25 lakh manuscripts across eight branches in Rajasthan.
“The first incident of theft of manuscripts surfaced in 1999 during physical verification of 20,000 manuscripts. At that time, Shahjahan Prakash and Narpati Vilas Etehasic Kavya manuscripts were found missing from the collection,” Ramkishan Pohiya, the former senior research officer, RORI said in his handwritten complaint in Hindi language.
The complaint further read, “Also found missing were 90 ‘granthas’ of coloured paintings of Kalpsutra during this internal audit.”
While narrating other incidents, the complainant alleged that as many as 60 manuscripts and coloured pictures were missing from the Kota branch. In 2006, in Udaipur branch, 12 manuscripts were found missing.
In 2002, in Bharatpur, one manuscript was allegedly found missing. In 2006-08, three manuscripts each were found missing in Chittorgarh and Jaipur. In 2006, 12 manuscripts and three ‘granthas’ were found missing in Udaipur branch of RORI. Some documents were found missing in Alwar in 1996-97.
In its account of lost manuscripts, Pohiya alleged that an officer at the Alwar branch gave 150 times the photocopies of Dantatrey Tantra and Nagarjun Tantra Hastlipi Granthas to an outsider from 1989 to 1995.
However, when contacted over phone, Vasumati Sharma, RORI’s nodal officer, denied any incident of theft in all eight branches.
“There was a departmental inquiry being conducted against Dr. Pohiya. He has filed the complaint with vested interests. The complaint bears no facts but allegations. There is no truth in the allegations of thefts in RORI. If thefts of manuscripts were happening for such a long, there could have been some action against someone,” she said.