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National Mission for Manuscripts unearths wealth of records

Written by: Staff

Sirsi, Karnataka, Mar 22 (UNI) Over 31,000 manuscripts and 1,000 palm leaves of the ancient era have been identified in Uttara Kannada district by historian Dr A K Shastry under the National Mission for Manuscripts.

Dr Shastry told UNI here that he conducted survey of the ancient manuscripts and palm leaves in the district with the help of 50 surveyors from September five to November 30 last year.

The Mission, launched in February 2003 by the Union Ministry of Culture, envisaged to save this most valuable, but less visible of the nation's cultural inheritance. An ambitious five-year project, the Mission sought not only to locate, catalogue and preserve manuscripts, but also to enhance access, spread awareness and encourage its use for educational purposes. A coordinator was appointed in every district in the country to implement the mega-programme.

Dr Shastry said the manuscripts and palm leaves with immense historic value were in the form of 'Rayasa', 'Nirupa', 'Dharma Shasana', 'Ashirvada Patrike', 'Rahadari', 'Bhogya Patra', 'Bhinnavattale', 'Kaiphiyattu', 'Tahaname' and 'Shrrmukha'. Written in Moodi, archaic Kannada and Tigalari scripts, these records helped to study the literature, social condition, Yakshagana artform, Purana and Veda of the Uttara Kannada region.

He said that in Sonda Swarnaalli mutt alone, 30,000 manuscripts had been identified, besides unearthing 100 palm leaves. He had identified 200 palm leaf bundles and 500 manuscripts at Chitrapur Saraswat mutt, Bhatkal, 39 palm leaf bundles and 500 manuscripts in Manjaguni Venkataramana temple, 58 palm leaf bundles in Idagunji Mahaganapati temple and five manuscripts in Sirsi Bannada Mutt.

Besides temples and mutts, he had also identified several records dating back to 1866 at St Antony's church, Sirsi, St John the Baptist's church, Kumta, San Salvador church and St Xavier's church, Honnavar. These records were in Portuguese, he added.


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