The National Mission for Manuscripts (NMM) has completed its first phase of digitalisation and preserved three lakh manuscripts that run into around four crore pages. Old manuscripts of books like the Chitra Bhagwata,the Ramayana,the Mahabhrata and Gita Govinda have been scanned and stored in DVDs across India.
Pratapanand Jha,the man behind the project,says it was necessary to digitalise the vast collection of manuscripts,as scholars and researchers cannot be given access to all the fragile documents. Besides,if an original manuscript dating back hundreds of years decays,we will at least have a copy.
Old manuscripts should not be opened again and again. And then digitalisation means many people can access a manuscript at the same time, Jha said.
Set up by the Ministry of Culture in 2003 to locate,catalogue,and preserve old manuscripts,the NMM is housed in the Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts (IGNCA).
The NMM has also developed a software to access information on 17.5 lakh manuscripts.
Mrinmoy Chakraborty,editor of the magazine published by NMM,Kriti Rakshana,says not many manuscripts are on the Internet due to copyright issues,but information on them is available.
To know more about the manuscripts,one can then contact the repository, he says.
* Old manuscripts have been scanned and stored in DVDs
* The NMM has developed a software to access information on 17.5 lakh manuscripts
* Process ensures that many people can access a manuscript at the same time