Over 900 Yakshagana scripts go digital

The cover page of ‘Ramashwamedha’ Yakshagana script printed in 1907 has been digitised. Photo: Special Arrangement  

More than 900 Yakshagana scripts, including the ones printed in 1905 and 1907, have now been digitised and made available online for free, thanks to the voluntary community effort by some Yakshagana lovers who did it under Yakshavahini, a registered trust.

The teamwork by about 100 professionals, including software engineers, has resulted in conservation of 934 scripts in the digital form in less than a year of launching the project. The number of digitised scripts is expected to touch 1,000 by March-end.

The ‘Prahlada Charitre’ printed in 1905 and ‘Ramashwamedha’ printed of 1907, ‘Putrakamesti’ published of 1913, ‘Kanakangi Kalyana’ of 1929, Kumudhwati Kalyana of 1931 and Sampoorna Ramayana printed in 1938 are among the ones digitised.

The concept of digitisation conceived in August last took birth soon after a month and the first set of scripts scanned went online in October, 2019 through a blog, Nataraja Upadhya, a software engineer and a co-ordinator of the project told The Hindu. The scripts sourced from different sources have been scanned, preserved in PDF format in Google drive and made available on www.prasangaprathi sangraha.com and through the ‘Prasanga Prathi Sangraha’ app, Mr. Upadhya said. The collection and digitisation of scripts, both in printed and manuscript forms, is one among the four projects being taken up by the Bengaluru based Yakshavahini, he said.

Among those digitised now are 65 scripts scanned and digitised by the Sristi Foundation of film-maker and director Abhaya Simha and others, he said. “We have given links to those scripts,” he said. Mr. Upadhya said that it is estimated that Karnataka had about 8,000 Yakshagana scripts. Of them, half might have disappeared due to various reasons. The Yakshavahini is making efforts to collect the remaining scripts and digitise at least 3,000 of them.

Ashwini Hodala, another co-ordinator and a pillar of the project, said that the scripts digitised included the ones written by Parthi Subba, considered as the pioneer of Yakshagana, Devidasa, Keerikkadu Vishu Master, Dwajapurada Nagappaiah and contemporary writer D.S. Sridhara. The collections included some different versions of same scripts published at different stages with some omissions and additions, she said.

Lakshminarayana Bhat, a software engineer who developed the app for the project, said 1,045 users have installed it since it was released on December 15, 2019. A user can use the names of the author, the ‘prasanga’ (script) or the publisher in the ‘search’ option to look for a particular script.

M. Krishna, administrator of a Yakshagana WhatsApp group, said that the documentation is a good source for researchers and present generation artistes. The volunteers have preserved them for the future generation at their own cost. “Now a ‘bhagawatha’ (singer and director) needs to take only an iPad to the stage and not the printed book,” he said.

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Printable version | May 17, 2021 4:10:50 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/over-900-yakshagana-scripts-go-digital/article31149254.ece

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