The glorious past of Indian
culture lies in manuscripts. These are basic historical evidence which
have great research value and its need and importance has been recognized
internationally. It is estimated that India possesses more than five
million manuscripts, making her the largest repository of manuscript
wealth in the world.
But today, thousands of valuable
unpublished Indian manuscripts on varied subjects are lying scattered or
fragmented in both Indian and foreign collections making them no longer
accessible to research scholars. Since most of the manuscripts have been
written on materials such as birch, palm leaf, handmade paper and cloth,
it requires specialized care and conservation. Although our ancestors had
tried to preserve them with the means available at the time, at present
this tremendous pool of knowledge is under threat and manuscripts are
disappearing at an alarming rate.
Recognizing the need to encompass
and preserve this aspect of Indian culture, Indira Gandhi National Centre
for the Arts (IGNCA) has made a pioneering attempt by serving as a major
resource centre. The manuscript microfilming programme at the IGNCA is a
landmark project in cultural heritage preservation. The Reprography Unit
of the IGNCA is fully equipped for the proper augmentation of the
reprographic resources, its preservation & conservation.
The IGNCA has approached many private and public
institutions/organizations and individuals who are in possession of
valuable manuscripts preferably in Sanskrit Language and has signed an MOU
with them to do microfilming of their manuscripts. In return the IGNCA
provides them with a positive print of the Microfilm rolls.
The IGNCA has, so far, developed a rich microfilm/microfiche collection in
its Reprography Unit. At present, the reprography unit is in possession of
a rich collection of more than 2.5 lacs manuscripts in more than 21500
microfilm rolls. The entire collection has also been digitized.