Manuscript Studies

The manuscript heritage of India is unique in its linguistic and scriptural diversity.  Dearth of skill or expertise in scripts in contemporary researchers has, however, posed a threat to the study and understanding of this textual heritage. To address this, the NMM has developed a detailed framework, with a view to train students and researchers in Indian scripts and manuscript studies. Through workshops, introduction of manuscriptology courses in universities, and providing fellowships for the higher studies in manuscriptology, NMM seeks to contribute directly to the production of a skilled resource pool in manuscript studies.

Why train in Manuscript Studies?

The National Mission for Manuscripts works with the objective of saving Indian manuscripts and making their knowledge content accessible. However, preservation of this heritage will be meaningful and is possible only if manuscripts continued to be relevant now and in future. Hence, the importance of research on manuscripts.

  • Manuscriptology is the scientific study of manuscripts.
  • It covers a wide range of specializations—preparation of raw material (paper, birch bark,palm leaf, inks, stylus); study of development of scripts and alphabets; methodologies of higher and lower criticisms; translation, interpretation, reconstruction of texts; preservation,conservation and storage of manuscripts; designing museums and archives for manuscript storage; linguistics; knowledge of scribal traditions; critically editing texts; cataloguing.
  • Indian manuscripts are found in a variety of languages and scripts—Newari, Gaudi, Tibetan, Kannada, Naskh, to name a few. But sadly, the number of people who can read such scripts is very few. Consequently, these are in danger of being extinct
  • Also, the above fields of specialisations do not figure prominently in our education system.

The Mission thus, seeks to create a resource pool of scholars and specialists in various aspects of manuscript studies through manuscriptology and palaeography workshops.