New lease of life for 100 manuscripts

New lease of life for 100 manuscripts

National mission

New lease of life for 100 manuscripts

The objective of the mission, launched at the national-level in 2003, is to conserve the manuscripts and publish them for the next generations.

Addressing the media on Wednesday, Director of the Mission, Prof Dipti S Tripathi, said centuries old manuscripts were repositories of information on socio-economic history of the land. The Centre had allocated Rs 23 crore for the mission activities in the current year.

Conducting workshops on preservation of manuscripts, collecting data and publishing the rare manuscripts are major activities of the mission. So far, the mission has collected 30 lakh manuscripts and 18 lakh of them have been digitised.

The director said Soundarya Lahari would be published in Hindi, English and Gujarati languages. The manuscript of Bhagavata is in Persian language with illustrations. The Mission would publish it in its original format. “So far we have not yet selected manuscripts of any South Indian languages. A meeting to select the manuscripts will be held in next 15 days,” she said.


The Mission, in association with the Karnataka State Archives, is conducting a three-day workshop on conserving Kadathas.  Kadatha is a manuscript written on a cotton cloth, seasoned with a paste made out of charcoal and powder of tamarind seeds. They have a shelf-life of 300 years. These manuscripts are unique to Karnataka. Religious institutions including Sringeri Mutt, Tontadarya Mutt in Gadag, Suttur Mutt in Mysore have many Kadathas.

Historian A K Shastri said history of Kadathas could be traced back to 4th century BC. It was in practice till the 18th century, when use of paper became popular. Sringeri Mutt had the highest collection of Kadathas.

In the recent years, awareness on conserving Kadathas had been increasing among those who possess it. Many more scholars should show interest in the techniques of conserving the manuscripts.

Dipti Tripathi said the Mission had held talks with a few universities to have post graduate courses on Manuscriptology and Paleography. Sanskrit University in Tirupathi and Rashtriya Sanskrit Samsthan, a deemed University in Delhi, had shown interest to launch the courses, she added.