Press Esc to close

Engineer archiving palm-leaf manuscripts using new tech

Madhuri Rao, Bengaluru, DH News Service Jul 28 2017, 1:52 IST
P R Mukund.

P R Mukund.

An engineer settled in the US has restored 3,000 palm-leaf manuscripts, some of them at least 800 years old, using a modern process.

Dr P R Mukund, professor at Rochester University, was prompted to take up the project by Sanskrit scholar Bannanje Govindacharya. The texts are in Sanskrit and Kannada. Among the manuscripts restored are works by Veda Vyasa, Vadiraja and Raghavendra Swami.

Interested in Vedic science, Mukund was learning the scriptures under Govindacharya in Bengaluru. That was in the early 1990s. Once, when Govindacharya tried to read an 800-year-old text, the manuscript was so brittle it turned to powder in his hands.

“He couldn’t read anything,” Mukund, on a visit to Bengaluru, told DH. Govindacharya remarked, “What use is technology if it can’t help prevent manuscripts from weathering off?”
Mukund went about finding out about palm-leaf manuscript restoration and preservation.

Imaging solution

After some research and with help from friends in the US, he found out about multi-spectral imaging. This involves restoring text with the help of computers. The image is then etched on metal and deposited on silicon wafers.

An entire text can be saved in digital images on a Waferfiche disc, about the size of a regular CD.
A magnifying glass is enough to read the etched images. Affected by neither water nor fire, Waterfiche is said to last for about 500 years.

“These manuscripts are the embodiment of pure knowledge and the least we can do is preserve them,” Mukund said.

Source of texts

The palm-leaf manuscripts were found mostly at the Vaishnavaite maths in Udupi. Sode Math has already digitised the manuscripts in its possession.

“Lack of funds is a challenge. Nobody comes forward to restore manuscripts as they serve no immediate purpose in their lives,” Mukund rued.

Go to Top

More from this section
Most trending stories
Photo Gallery
Narendra Modi, Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara during their visit to Sabarmati Ashram...

Narendra Modi, Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara during their visit to Sabarmati Ashram...

Narendra Modi, Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara during their visit to Sabarmati Ashram...

Narendra Modi, Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara during their visit to Sabarmati Ashram...

New recruits of Madras Engineer Group and Centre during a military training demonstration...

New recruits of Madras Engineer Group and Centre during a military training demonstration...

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman waves from the cock-pit of IAF's Sukhoi-30 MKI plane...

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman waves from the cock-pit of IAF's Sukhoi-30 MKI plane...

R Madhavan, Amit Sadh, Sapna Pabbi and Vijay Subramaniamduring the trailer launch...

R Madhavan, Amit Sadh, Sapna Pabbi and Vijay Subramaniamduring the trailer launch...

The newly-raised all women bikers contingent of Border Security Force (BSF) ‘Daredevils' practice...

The newly-raised all women bikers contingent of Border Security Force (BSF) ‘Daredevils' practice...

The newly-raised all women bikers contingent of BSF Daredevils...

The newly-raised all women bikers contingent of BSF Daredevils...

India and Japanese Coast Guard ships participate in a joint naval drill as part of the search...

India and Japanese Coast Guard ships participate in a joint naval drill as part of the search...

Homeless people sharing meal at a pavement in New Delhi...

Homeless people sharing meal at a pavement in New Delhi...

Camel-mounted BSF soldiers participate in a rehearsal for the Beating Retreat ceremony...

Camel-mounted BSF soldiers participate in a rehearsal for the Beating Retreat ceremony...

Like us on Facebook

Copyright 2017, The Printers (Mysore) Private Ltd., 75, M.G Road, Post Box 5331, Bengaluru - 560001
Tel: +91 (80) 25880000 Fax No. +91 (80) 25880523
Powered by Yodasoft Technologies Pvt. Ltd.