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Monday, September 10, 2018

Minister of State for Skill Development & Entrepreneurship Inaugurates Workshop on Understanding Rare Scripts



Minister of State for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, AnantKumar Hegde has inaugurated a Workshop on Understanding Rare Scripts at the Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts, Regional Centre (IGNCA), Bengaluru. The workshop is being organised in line with IGNCA’s larger mandate to enable engagement and preservation of India’s heritage and archival resources. The workshop will offer hands on training in deciphering the script, accessing manuscripts and will also cover issues in manuscriptology research. 

The objective of the initiative is to document and archive the country’s languages that have been lost or are likely to be lost in the near future. The inauguration was conducted in the august presence of Dr Sachchidanand, Joshi, Member Secretary, IGNCA, Dr Ramesh C Gaur, Head Kalanidhi Division, IGNCA and Dr. K.R. Venugopal, Vice Chancellor, Bangalore University.

Courses will be open to students and scholars who are interested in heritage research. No prior training in manuscriptology is necessary. Participants will also be encouraged to further their training by undertaking translation projects from the microfilm library at the Regional Centre Bengaluru.

Speaking at the ceremony, AnantKumar Hegde said, “In recent years the language diversity is under threat as speakers of diverse languages are becoming rare. Scripts and languages are important aspect of our culture. There are plenty of things one can do to contribute towards documenting a language, depending on the skill-set. Besides the preservation of the neglected archival records, the initiative is also aimed at compiling the local history of state. The problem needs to be addressed at societal level, in which the communities have to take part in conservation of language diversity that is part of cultural wealth.”

India is home to priceless manuscript collections which are a source of invaluable knowledge. IGNCA seeks to create opportunities that results in skill development and also foster engagement with our culture. 

Regional Center Bengaluru houses a niche library with 14,000 books which cover subjects such as arts, culture and history. The manuscript microfilms library has been aggregated from over 52 centres across the country with about 22,000 microfilms rolls covering 2,85,000 manuscripts. One lakh vintage and contemporary colour slides are available for research scholars and academicians.

The Modi script was used to write the Marathi language spoken in the current state of Maharashtra. It originated as a cursive script during the 17th century CE. Modi was used until the 1950's when Devanagari replaced it as the written medium of the Marathi language. The script is used all over Canara and Western Hilly regions of Karnataka. Many manuscripts written in these scripts are also found in erstwhile districts of Mumbai, Uttara Kannada, Udupi, Dakshina Kannada, Shimoga and Kasaragod district of Kerala. Most government records in the region prior to 1950 are in Modi Script.

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