Travel Diary

To: "Min Nuul" From: "Kannan" Date: Tue, 22 Jan 2002 09:17:15 +0100 Subject: [e-suvadi] Traval Diary 21.01.0 Reply-to: [email protected]
Dear Suvadians: Oriental Manuscript Library is well known for its collection of palm leaf manuscripts and books. It has in its collection 50,180 PL manuscripts and 22,134 books. Tamil manuscripts total 16,558. I visited this library which was started in 1869. Very impressive collection and well maintained archives. When I met Dr.Soundrapandian the present curator of the library, I was pleasantly surprised to know that Govt.of Tamilnadu has initiated efforts towards digitization of its collection. Though situated in the Library complex of Madras University, OML is a Govt. organisation. It is more than evident in everybodys activity. Dr.Soundarapandian has recommended me to buy the catalogue of Tamil Suvadis. Infact, I wanted to buy the catalogues and some books. He promptly called the subordinates to bring the Vol.I. After nearly half an hour, the person returned with an answer that the catalogue was out of print! Naturally, Govt. officers never trust such statements. He insisted that there are copies over there. Another half an hour went before he appeared with the books (one less, as a punishment for our adamence! - a lovely reprint on Geography). I asked him to get me the bill. He never appeared again and went out for lunch!! I utilised that time to gather information about the libarary and the librarians - a real task from a man of limited words (a Govt. tactic again :-) Finally, after several calls, another fellow appeared with the bill and the books. I have the Catalogue with me now. Very interestingly, the catalogue itself is a manuscript!! It was published in 1932 by Kuppuswamy Sastry, the then Curator and Scholar!! I learnt from other sources now that a Canadian sponsored project aims at digitizing medical manuscripts at MOL. A department of Indira Gandhi Institute, Delhi is microfilming the Sanskrit manuscripts (49,755). The curator told me that soon they will deliver manuscripts in CD forms!! (should I take it with a pinch of salt?) Whatever may be, MOL is extremely useful to scholars and visited by scholars and novice alchemists on a very regular basis. Dr.Soundarajan, according some estimates, has published so far 10,000 pages from this ocean of information. He has written several books and articles. He gave me pointers where I can get hold of his articles. I am in the process of wonder browsing through the catalogue!! The catalogue needs to be preserved above all!! anbudan Kannan