Other States

Museum has a history of theft, missing manuscripts

Even as the Odisha State Museum (OSM) has admitted to have 19,774 palm leaf manuscripts as against a claim of 40,000, the premier museum has a history of theft, missing and damage of valuable records.

According to an old report made available by the OSM in response to a recent RTI application, the museum had reported that illustrated manuscripts (Serial Number. 22) was stolen, but there was no clarity on action taken against any employees of the institute.

The report also says Oriya Purana (Odia Mythology) manuscripts numbered as 78, 920, 942, 1392, 1767, 1968, 1977, 2189 and 2487 and many others are not available. No cause was assigned to the unavailability of these manuscripts.

A number of former OSM employees had taken the manuscripts, but failed to return those in time. While penalty was imposed against some, many escaped disciplinary actions. One of Sanskrit Puranas (Mythology written in Sanskrit) was damaged.

Earlier visible discrepancies were noticed in storage and preservation of palm leaf manuscripts. Since late 1980s, the State government had been claiming to have manuscripts between 50,000 and 60,000. Then, in early 2000s, the number came down to 40,000. Even now, the State government has been acknowledging rich manuscript reserve of around 40,000.

But doubts were raised over claims after the OSM in a RTI reply admitted that it had 19,774 palm leaf manuscripts.

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Apr 12, 2021 12:33:59 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/museum-has-a-history-of-theft-missing-manuscripts/article8328856.ece

Next Story