Kerala

Manuscripts of Gundert legacy from Deutschland

Digital archives of the German missionary-cum-scholar handed over to Chief Minister

The second Loka Kerala Sabha (LKS) in session in the capital on Thursday became the venue for the handing over of the digital archives of German missionary-cum-scholar Herman Gundert, the great lover of Malayalam language and literature who spent two decades in Kerala till April 1859.

Incidentally, the hard disc of the digital archives was handed over to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan by Heike Oberlin, Professor of Indology, University of Tubingen, Germany. Attired in traditional Kerala sari, Ms. Oberlin, a Koodiyattam exponent, communicated with the Chief Minister in Malayalam with ease.

For her, it was a successful mission as the attempt to hand over the hard disc to the Chief Minister at the University of Tubingen during his recent European visit did not succeed.

It was in Tubingen University that Gundert took doctorate before coming to Kerala in 1838. The university library had taken up the project to digitise and make available online the legacy of Herman Gundert to Malayalam and other languages. The corpus of nearly 80 manuscripts, 150 printed works, and some palm leaf manuscripts of the German scholar available with the university runs into some 42,000 pages.

Besides manuscripts, printed works, and palm leaf manuscripts, the Malayalam-English dictionary which he began compiling in Kerala and completed in Germany, notes prepared for grammar, and the books of his friends had been digitised.

Ms. Oberlin said 1,37,148 pages, including 142 manuscripts, had been digitised and 24,000 pages were available online and could be accessed free of charge from gundert-portal.de/

“It is a honour for me and the varsity to take forward the work started by Dr. Gundert. People in Kerala love him for his love for language and literature,” Ms. Oberlin, who first came to Kerala in 1993 as part of an academic programme as an Indology student, said. Later, she mastered Malayalam and got trained in Koodiyattam and Nangiarkoothu at the Kerala Kalamandalam in 1995.

Course in Malayalam

She said mastering Malayalam was difficult when compared with other languages. Tubingen University had commenced the maiden course in Malayalam. Besides students from Germany, there were students from other European countries for the course.

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Printable version | Feb 23, 2020 10:55:48 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/manuscripts-of-gundert-legacy-from-deutschland/article30464194.ece

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