Kerala

Rare manuscripts found in survey

Aimed at taking message of conservation to the people

A Bible in Greek and a copy of Bengal Gazette from Pathanamthitta, a 100-year-old herb used to treat snakebites and 500-year-old palm-leaf manuscripts from Ernakulam; works in Sanskrit, Hebrew, Syriac, Latin, and Arabic from Kottayam; 1,000-year-old turmeric and 500-year-old anklet and sword from Alappuzha; Copies of Rajyasamacharam and Paschimodayam published by Hermann Gundert and dating back to 1847 and 1864 respectively from Kollam; and 500-year-old manuscripts on Ayurveda, Kalari, naturopathy, and snakebite remedies from a Muslim family in Malappuram were some of the findings of a manuscript survey undertaken by the Kerala State Literacy Mission Authority last summer.

Interesting artefacts

Funded by the Archives Department as part of the mission’s social literacy programmes, the survey has thrown up a host of interesting manuscripts and artefacts such as coins from India and the Arab countries dating back to 1800 and palm-leaf manuscripts from Kasaragod; 500-year-old Ramayanam and 75-year-old religious text in Urdu from Kannur; and 600-year-old ‘uruli’ and 250-year-old ‘bharani’ from Idukki.

The other findings of the Statewide survey include 200-year-old household equipment, hanging bed, Adivasi work implements and manuscripts containing their rituals from Wayanad; a stamp dating back to the ruler of the erstwhile Cochin state and coins from Kochi; 300-year-old printing press and 400-year-old ‘changala vilakku’ from Thiruvananthapuram; 120-year-old gramaphone, 300-year-old jewellery box, and a bed of the Kollengode family dating back to the time of Pazhassi Raja from Kozhikode.

Mission aim

The survey, aimed at taking the message of conservation of manuscripts to the people, was undertaken by the mission’s 37,951 Class 10 and higher secondary equivalency learners as part of their academic activities, with the support of teachers, people’s representatives, social volunteers, and students.

A total of 37,901 palm-leaf manuscripts were found through the survey.

Of them, 25,287 were 25 to 100 years old; 4,583 between 101 and 500 years old; and 632 manuscripts were over 500 years old. Besides, 7,399 palm-leaf manuscripts whose age is not discernible were also found.

These pertain to horoscopes, religious texts, snakebites, Ayurveda, and hymns.

Most of the manuscripts are written in Tamil, Malayalam, Sanskrit, and Arabic.

8,819 records found

As many as 8,819 records were found in the printed rare texts category, and 18,065 newspapers and magazines were also found.

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Printable version | Feb 28, 2020 10:10:25 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/rare-manuscripts-found-in-survey/article28689146.ece

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