Palm scripts to get a new lease of life


Archaeology Director says project work will begin on April 15

Director of Archaeology and MuseumsG.V. Ramakrishna Rao inspecting the age-old palm scripts at the Andhra Sahitya Parishat Museum in Kakinada on Wednesday. —Photo: K.N. Murali Sankar

Director of Archaeology and MuseumsG.V. Ramakrishna Rao inspecting the age-old palm scripts at the Andhra Sahitya Parishat Museum in Kakinada on Wednesday. —Photo: K.N. Murali Sankar

Four months down the line, chemical treatment will be given to the age-old palm scripts being preserved in the museum of Andhra Sahitya Parishat here.

As many as 4,741 palm scripts dating back to centuries are in the possession of the museum, which is maintained by the Department of Archaeology and Museums. Though many of the scripts are in a brittle condition, chemical treatment project is getting delayed owing to paucity of funds.

“We have made a concrete plan this time and the chemical treatment project will be commenced from April 15. The idea is to complete the work in three months,” G.V. Ramakrishna Rao, Director, told The Hindu on Wednesday. Mr. Rao is in East Godavari district to inspect Buddhist excavations in A. Kothapalli.

The century-old Andhra Sahitya Parishat has a valuable collection that includes the palm scripts, over 500 manuscripts and 10,400 titles in different languages, most of which are not available now even in the archives. The collection belonged to the Parishat that was established by historian Jayanthi Ramaiah Pantulu with financial support from Rajah of Pithapuram in 1911 and the entire trove was handed over to the department in 1973.

“Our immediate focus is the preservation of palm scripts. Despite sending proposals to the 12th and 13th Finance Commissions, we were not able to get any funding. Now, we have allocated a special fund of Rs. 10 lakh for the project, which is completely undertaken by our department staff,” explained Mr. Rao.

The works will be commenced under the supervision of K. Rambabu, Assistant Chemist of the department. Over eight members are expected to participate in the job that requires special skills.

“Besides preserving the palm scripts by using chemicals, we are also going to replace the wooden supports and the threads with new ones. Quality teakwood has to be used for making the supports, to ensure long life to the scripts,” said Mr. Rao.

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