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Descriptive Catalogue of Manuscripts in Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan's Library (An Old and Rare Book)

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Item Code: NAY255
Publisher: Bharatiya Vidya Bhawan
Author: M.B. Warnekar
Language: Hindi and English
Edition: 1985
Pages: 638
Other Details 8.50 X 5.50 inch
Weight 690 gm
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Book Description

Ancient Manuscripts are a cultural treasure of perennial value. Though the content of a manuscript is printed and published, its value does not diminish in the least; on the contrary, it increases more and more with the passage of time.

The value of a manuscript lies not only in its content but also in its original form and appearance. The external appearance of the manuscript throws light on the chronological status of the MSS. It bears the strength of original evidence in the disputes of history and helps to settle them finally. Further, it is useful for a palaeological study. Manuscripts must be preserved carefully as an invaluable cultural treasure of the nation.

Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan has a collection of 1377 paper manuscripts and 27 palm-leaf manuscripts. These manuscripts pertain to as many as twenty-six subjects in different languages. Besides, there is a manuscript of Mahabharata in the form of a big roll of 30 c.m. diameter and 15 c.m. width. It is written on a very thin paper pasted on very thin cloth. Freshness of the paper and cloth is not lost at all. The writing is extremely minute. It cannot be deciphered without the help of a magnifying glass. The composition has been enriched with beautiful paintings of bright colours of various shades. These paintings are illustrative. To add to the beauty of this work, there appear decorative golden borders on both the sides. From a close observation of the work, one can say that it is the work of a single hand. There does not appear a touch of any other man at any point or place. This MS of Mahabharata is really unique. Such innovation in calligraphy is rarely to be found. It is an antique and invaluable article for the museum. It has been preserved very well in the Mayan's library. This manuscript seems to be from Rajasthan. The mode of writing, the decorative border-work and the colours used in the paintings indicate that such work cannot come out from any other part of India except Rajasthan. It is difficult to determine the period of this work. The Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan can be legitimately proud of its possession.

The present Descriptive Catalogue of Manuscripts has been prepared for the research study and record as per standard proforma of information. To facilitate the research study it has been supplemented with Subject wise Index, Author Index and Alphabetical list of Manuscripts. Extracts from manuscripts are appended for the comprehension of the nature of work.

Palm-leaf manuscripts are in South Indian scripts. In most of the works the script is archaic and of granth character. In `Gita Govindam' only, it is Devanagari. The other works are mostly on astrology, medicine and poetics.

I express my gratitude to Shri S. Ramakrishnan, Executive Secretary, but for whose help and guidance the work would not have seen the light of day.

I am grateful to Professor B. R. Kulkarni, Jt. Director for his encouragement from time to time in the preparation of this work.

I am equally thankful to Miss R. K. Mota, Librarian and her enthusiastic staff for their hearty co-operation in my work.

**Sample Pages**

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