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Home / India / Govt to declare 45 manuscripts as 'unique'

Govt to declare 45 manuscripts as 'unique'

The idea is to give recognition to pioneering manuscripts considered to be landmarks in India's intellectual history, reports Satyen Mohapatra.

india Updated: Feb 13, 2007, 17:56 IST
Satyen Mohapatra
Satyen Mohapatra

The government has decided to declare forty five manuscripts of the country with "unique heritage value" as "Vijnananidhi: Manuscript Treasures of India".

Clearly not an exhaustive list from a country which holds an estimated 5 million manuscripts the idea is to give recognition to pioneering manuscripts considered to be landmarks in India's intellectual and aesthetic history.

The National Manuscript Mission will be providing a token sum of Rs 1 lakh to each of the 21 repositories across the country where these manuscripts are kept for taking special protective measures.

Some of the manuscripts have been declared national treasures because they are "endangered" being highly vulnerable due deterioration caused by climate.

National Manuscript Mission Director Sudha Gopalakrishnan speaking to the Hindustan Times said repositories would be asked to provide infrastructure for storage of manuscripts, besides taking up preventive and curative conservation.

Digitisation, transcribing, critical editions, research and publication work on these manuscripts would also be taken up, she added.

"A National Database of manuscripts supported by a software 'Manus Granthavali' containing basic information regarding one lakh manuscripts kept in about 30,000 public and private collections all over the country including mutts monastries, madrassas, temples, bhandaras will be launched on Wednesday by Culture and Tourism Minister Ambika Soni who will also declare the Manuscript Treasures of India," she added.                                                                                                                 

The Manuscript Treasures of India includes the Gilgit Manuscripts, Al-Quran al-Majid, Rigvedasamhita, Arthashastra, Baburnama, Gita Govinda, among others.

The Gilgit Manuscripts yet to be fully deciphered belonging to the 5th-6th centuries are among the oldest written documents in the world and are unmatched in their significance in the area of Buddhist studies and evolution of a number of languages of world importance like Sanskrit, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Tibetan.

The Al-Quran-al-Majid one of the world's most sacred books is the basis of the Muslim faith.

Attributed to Hazrat Ali, the son-in-law of Prophet Mohammad, this copy of the Holy Quran is said to be written in his own handwriting.

This manuscript is in Arabic, and it is written in early Kufi script. Dated to 661 AD it is also one of the oldest parchment manuscripts in the world.

The Rigvedasamhita is one of the four main Vedas or texts that form the basis of Hindu faith supposed have been composed 3,000 years ago.

This manuscript is extremely rare as it is written on birch bark a support material used exclusively in Kashmir and dates back to 51 Kashmiri era.

The Persian manuscript Tarikh-i Khandan-i Timuriyah richly illustrated manuscript created in the period of Akbar 1577-78 begins with an inscription written in Emperor Shah Jahan's own hand.

The illustrated manuscript of the Persian version of Ramayana with Rajasthan school of painting belonging to the late Mughal Emperor Farrukhsiyar.

Three hundred and fifty year old manuscript of Natya Shastra - 4th century BC treatise on drama, dance and performing arts composed by Bharatamuni - written in Sanskrit in Kannada script.

Persian translation of Baburnama autobiography of Babur written in Nastaliq script during emperor Akbar's time in 1585 by Abdur Rahim Khan-e-Khana.

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