Amrita Darshanam – International Centre for Spiritual Studies (ICSS), in collaboration with the National Mission for Manuscripts (NMM), Govt. of India, organized a basic-level 21-day workshop on Manuscriptology and Palaeography at Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, Amritapuri campus, from 6 to 26 May 2019. This was the first step of the centre towards the field of manuscriptology.
The workshop aimed at encouraging and training young scholars in the field of manuscriptology and palaeography by imparting theoretical knowledge and through practical demonstration. During the workshop, participants were familiarized with Brāhmi, Śārada, Newari, Nāgari, Nandīnāgari and Granthā. In addition, the workshop covered aspects of critically editing texts and their cataloguing, history of writing, basic conservation and storage of manuscripts, and the use of information technology in manuscript preservation and research, etc.
The workshop was inaugurated on 6 May 2019 at 10:00 am in the presence of Dr. Dileep Kumar Rana (Director, CIFSS), Dr. Shridhar Barik (NMM), Dr. Balakrishnan Shankar (Associate Dean, Amrita School of Engineering, Amritapuri Campus) and Br. Prasanth (Assistant Professor, Amrita Darshanam, Amritapuri campus). Dr. Preetha Menon (Assistant Professor, Amrita Darshanam, Amritapuri campus) hosted the programme. The gathering was welcomed by Mr. Manish Rajan Walvekar (Assistant Professor, Amrita Darshanam, Bengaluru campus), who also gave an overview of the workshop. The dignitaries congratulated the centre through their speeches.
Following areas were covered during the workshop:
- Origin and Development of Scripts
- Aim and Scope of Manuscriptology
- Preservation and Digitalization of Manuscripts
- Introduction to Brāhmi, Śārada, Newari, Nāgari, Nandīnāgari and Granthā scripts
- Method of Transcribing Texts of Manuscripts
- Dating of Manuscripts
- Editing of Manuscripts
- Preservation of Manuscripts
- Method of Collating Manuscripts
- Textual Criticism
The workshop was conducted in the august presence of following scholars:
- Dileep Kumar Rana
- Siniruddha Dash
- Mamata Mishra
- P. Perumal
- Uttam Singh
- C. M. Neelakandan
- Nirmala Kulkarni
- P. Visalakshy
- T. Pavitran
- G. Gangadharan Nair
- Soma Basu
Prof. P. Visalakshy guided the participants to prepare a simple edition of the ‘Śivagītā-upaniṣad’s’ manuscript. A simple edition of the manuscript was brought out by the students under Prof. Visalakshy’s able guidance. Dr. Perumal conducted some practical sessions regarding the conservation of the manuscripts. Participants had a rare chance to handle a manuscript in order to comprehend the conservation techniques. Apart from the abovementioned scripts, participants also learnt Vattezhttu, Kolezhuttu and Malayalam scripts from the scholars. In short, these 21 days were truly enriching for all partcipants.
36 participants attended the workshop from across the country. They were from different backgrounds – Sanskrit grammar, literature, Telugu and Ayurveda and engineering, to name a few. The content of the workshop catered well to learned and laymen and participants commented that the workshop was immensely useful for their further academic research and career development.
The workshop concluded with a valedictory session which was chaired by Br. Sankara Chaitanya (Medical Director, Amrita School of Ayurveda, Amritapuri campus). Dr. Nirmala Kulkarni and Br. Sivananda adorned the dais with their presence. Dr. Nirmala Kulkarni guided the participants for their further studies. Two participants, Prof. Ramadas P. V. and Ms. Kanya Kanchana, expressed their satisfactory views about the workshop. Br. Sankara Swamiji’s speech was the zenith of the function. He guided all the participants in a very constructive manner that ignited participants’ minds. Mr. Manish Rajan Walvekar presented a brief report of the workshop followed by a vote of thanks and certificate distribution.