Travel Diary

To: "Min Nuul" From: "Kannan" Date: Thu, 21 Feb 2002 10:51:42 +0530 Subject: [e-suvadi] Travel Diary 21.02.02 Reply-to: [email protected]
The legacy continues.... Temptations bring trouble! Dr.Prema gave me several articles on Tamil medicine. She has hands-on experience on tamil suvadis. In one of her articles she mentions about critical editions. She compares suvadis on toxicology from Saraswati Mahal and Tamil University. I was tempted to see that Suvadi in Saraswati mahal. Dr.Rangarajan, took me to the scholar in-charge. She was a nice lady and brought a suvadi kattu that contained the work I wanted (Dr.Rangarajan edited and published few books with her). It was on 'nanju muRivu' - an antidote for poison. A single leaf of information with a poem explaining the medicine. We approached the Administrative Officer. An officer at Deputy Collector level. He talks willingly everything other than books and scholarship :-) So he asked me how much I earn in Germany !! Quite embarrassing, is it not? Once that curiosity was satisfied he started talking about Hitler :-) After all this un- pleasantries, I asked him whether I could scan that single leaf for reference. The officers deal such requests differently. He refused straight away ! He told me that there was no preceding of that sort and if someone sees me scanning, they would ask as well. I thought where was the problem? Instead, he asked me to write a request for micro filming that work! I told him that scanning is much simpler, faster. Officers never listen to logic and are used to refuse requests rather than granting one! Well, I had no other choice. I met the Officer in-charge of microfilming. The Suvadi was handed over to technicians. The handling was very poor. would have given the respect the suvadi deserves. The officer told me that microfilm stock was exhausted and he was waiting for a shipment from Germany. I told him that a German expert was in front of him and a German scanner is ready to shoot the image. Where was the problem? He thought for a moment and realized the sense in my statement. He asked me to wait while he would persuade the AO for the scan. AOs are hard nuts to crack. He miserably failed. He asked his assistant to come out with a cost estimate for micro filming a single palm leaf! They took some time, as it was an unusual request. Most scholars microfilm an entire work of several leaves. Finally, they derived a sum of Rs.65 towards that and told me that they would send me the microfilm by registered post within a week - which I didn't believe ! I lost all my enthusiasm by then and I paid him the money...wait, I had to go to another place for paying the bill. I was allowed to keep the receipt and asked to write my address in a note book. Having lost my hope with Saraswati mahal I wanted to see the other version in Tamil University. Since I was introduced to the Department by the VC there was no problem in tracing the palm leaf for me. I was permitted to scan the leaf. Prof.Paramasivam explained me the textual variation one finds in that work! River flows from top to bottom and so function most Institutions in India :-)) Kannan ps. I thank Re.Ka and Anandasayanam for inspiration :-)