Some rare Persian manuscripts and original texts on Ayurveda in Sanskrit are among the prized manuscripts being preserved at the Andhra Pradesh State Archives and Research Institute here.
In order to carry out this preservation work, Manuscript Conservation Centre (MCC) was set up in May this year on the premises of the state Archives, in collaboration with the National Mission for Manuscripts (NMM).
The NMM was established in 2003 by the Union Ministry of Tourism and Culture to unearth and preserve the wealth of manuscripts in India. The AP State Archives and Research Institute was chosen as one of the branches in south India to facilitate the National Mission.
According to officials, the objective of the MCC is to provide preventive and curative conservation of the rare and historical palm leaves and manuscripts, besides collecting the data of palm leaves and manuscripts for a comprehensive data-base at the national level.
The MCC has taken up the conservation or preventive and curative treatment of the manuscripts, which includes repair work from primary to permanent level, they said.
“This covers fumigation, hole filling and lamination, to give a long life to palm leaves and manuscript,” they said.
“Many rare and historical Persian manuscripts have been given preventive treatment. About 5,000 folios have been treated for their longer life,” they added.
The MCC is currently working on the old manuscripts of the National Institute of Indian Medical Heritage here as well as on the original texts of Ayurveda, Unani and Siddha, which are in Sanskrit, the officials said.
Besides preserving the original texts, the transcribing work of two Persian manuscripts - ‘Tarikh-i-Sultan Muhammad Qutb Shah’ and ‘Maasir-i-Nizam’ by Lala Mansaram, from the medieval era, was also taken up in May this year.
The transcribing work would be useful to those working on the medieval history of the Deccan, the officials said.
Millions of manuscripts available in the country cover a variety of themes, textures, aesthetics, scripts, languages, calligraphies and illustrations, which constitute a part of India’s history and heritage, they said.
“The manuscripts lay scattered across the country as well as outside in numerous institutions as well as in private collection, often unattended and undocumented. The National Mission for Manuscript (NMM) aims to locate, document, preserve and make these manuscripts accessible (to everyone),” they added.