Digitisation of documents, new courses in the pipeline
Thunchan Manuscripts Repository at the University of Calicut, which has the second biggest collection of ancient documents such as palm leaf manuscripts in the State, is getting a facelift these days.
University sources said that complete digitisation and cataloguing of the documents and making them accessible to people along with introduction of courses in epigraphy and manuscriptology are some of the projects in the pipeline.
M.P. Manju, Assistant Professor, Department of Malayalam and Kerala Studies, who was recently appointed as its director, told The Hindu on Tuesday that there are around 12,000 ancient palm leaf manuscripts at the repository, which were collected from temples, royal families and other households over a period of over four decades.
The collection has works in Sanskrit, Kannada, Tulu, Telugu, Tamil, old Malayalam scripts of Vattezhuthu and Kolezhuthu and Grantha, a script used for writing classic Sanskrit by Tamil speakers between 6th and 19th centuries. There are rare coins, royal thrones, two copper plates and nine bamboo plates. They deal with a variety of subjects such as astronomy, chemistry, zoology, history, politics, philosophy, literarature and Ayurveda.
Sources said that there are translations of the Vedas and the Upanishads and rare scientific treatises, including those dealing with the Kerala School of Mathematics, that have historical significance. Though this repository was earlier under the Department of Malayalam, now it is under a committee in which teachers from various departments and the pro-vice chancellor and the director of research are members.
“We are planning to uplift the repository as an inter-disciplinary centre in the future. There are very few people who have expertise in manuscripts these days. The plan is to attract students to courses in epigraphy and manuscriptology. There are proposals for international collaborations as well,” Ms. Manju said.
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