Tibetan Manuscripts: One Of The Most Documented Manuscript

According to a recent news report in the Times of India, the Tibetan manuscripts has outnumbered most of the historical manuscripts documented by National Mission for Manuscripts where it been recorded with most number of documented scripts after Sanskrit, Odia and Hindi. The mission which began about a decade ago have documented around 41 lakh ancient manuscripts written on palm leaves, bark, metal, cloth and even paper (at least 75 years old) as of March 2016 according to the reports.

On a breakdown of the total number of documented manuscripts. Sanskrit ranks at the most documented manuscripts with 11.66 lakh manuscripts followed by Odia with 2.13 lakh documented manuscripts and Hindi at the third place with 1.99 lakh documented manuscripts. Tibetan comes to the fourth most documented place with 1.63 lakh documented manuscripts. It is followed by Tamil with 1.08 lakh documented manuscripts at the fifth place.

Of the total count of around 41 lakh manuscripted documented, around 19.15 lakh have been categorized in ‘other languages’.

According to the report, literary critic G N Devy is quoted as saying”When the mission began a little over a decade ago, the first batch of manuscripts came from Himachal Pradesh. They included many Tibetan scripts,” which had mostly contributed to the large amount of Tibetan manuscripts documented.

The report says “While Himachal being home to a large Tibetan settlement (in Dharamsala) – with a major influx post 1965 – explains the large cache of Tibetan manuscripts, Devy also pointed out the northern state has had one of the best collections of scripts from the 1950s.”

This is a good news for the Tibetans as it clearly explains the profound value of Tibetan culture at the same time it also shows how rich and unique the Tibetan culture is for having survived so well over these difficult times. Cultural identity is a proof of how well versed a community is towards its own traditions which in turn verifies their independent existence.

Yeshi Paljor

Editor at Tibetan Journal, Yeshi Paljor is a computer engineer by profession.

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