Tamil Epigraphy Seminars in Paris 2011-2012

Appasamy MURUGAIYAN (EPHE-UMR7528 Mondes iranien et indien) donnera un séminaire hebdomadaire intitulé :

«Épigraphie tamoule : inscriptions, temples et sthalapuranas »


les lundis de 14 à  16 heures à  l’INHA, 6 rue des Petits Champs, Paris 75002, salle 239 (CREOPS).

Cet enseignement a lieu dans le cadre des séminaires de Master et de Doctorat de Paris IV
(Histoire de l’art et archéologie de l’Inde et de l’Asie du Sud-Est – CREOPS).

N.B.: La première séance aura lieu le lundi 24 octobre 2011 à  14h.


Contact et informations:



Collection 11 in progress


Krishnasamy examining letters to be digitized with the document holder in his living room. Our "home-made" portable photo stand is in the lower right hand corner

We are presently working on a large collection belonging to the family of an Anuppa Goundar Zamin family in Madurai district. The documents we are digitizing will eventually become “collection 11”.

The Zamin’s documents have been stored in a relatively neat and orderly fashion, unlike some collections where the documents were balled up together, which is making the digitization process less complicated and time consuming.

One of the two chest holding the family documents being opened for us....

So far we are not able to estimate the number of documents kept in the two wooden chests. During the first set of digitization around 1 000 photos have been taken. As is often the case in our project, the document holder is not quite sure of the contents of many of his documents.

...and the contents dispersed on the floor...

This first set of digitized documents is being painstakingly identified by Selvakumar, Muthukumar and Chandran who joined the project a month ago. The collection contains a vast majority of paper documents.  Among these a fair amount of land related documents (village leases, land sales, rentals, auctions, etc.), dispute documents (complaints, judgments, legal notices, etc.).

Though there are very few documents in English, the earliest document among those identified so far is a handwritten notice in English from dating from 1802 . A notebook dated from 1867 presented by the Madurai District Collector contains a number of handwritten copies of copperplates which were apparently lent by the Zamin to the British officer for the purpose of reproduction. The copperplates reproduced are said to have been issued by Tirumalai Nayakkar arounf the 1660s, thus latter that the copperplates of Collection 1 (which have been authenticated by the Archaeological Survey).

The second phase of the digitization process should be completed by the end of the month of October.

Here are a few more samples from the fieldwork and the collection:




EAP grant applications 2012

The Endangered Archives Programme offers a number of grants every year to individual researchers world-wide to locate vulnerable archival collections, to arrange their transfer wherever possible to a suitable local archival home, and to deliver copies into the international research domain via the British Library.

NB The specific focus of this Programme is upon archives relating to the pre-industrial stages of a society’s development, whether in Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Latin America, or even Europe.

These grants will be the primary means by which Arcadia will contribute to the urgent task of identifying, preserving and making accessible such archival collections before they are lost to international scholarship forever.

Applications are now invited for the Pilot Project Grant and Major Research Project Grant schemes. All applicants must initially submit a preliminary application.

The deadline for submission of preliminary applications is 4 November 2011.

After assessment of the preliminary applications has taken place, only those subsequently invited to do so may submit a detailed application.

The deadline for submission of detailed applications is 24 February 2012.

Applicants will be informed of the outcome of their applications by the end of May 2012.

For all information and applications see:  http://eap.bl.uk/pages/grants.html

Namani training and events

The National Mission for Manuscripts regularly holds training workshops and seminars across India. The upcoming events include: seminars, basic level and advanced level workshops on Manuscriptology & Palaeography.

Upcoming Seminar Series 2011-2012


National seminar on “Less-known Grammatical Manuscripts, Grammarians & Theories”

Venue: CASS, University of Pune, Maharashtra

Date: Last week of November

National seminar on “Manuscripts related to Architecture”

Venue: Oriental Research Institute, University of Kerala, Kariavattom, Thiruvananthapuram,

Date: 23- 25th Nov.2011

National seminar on ‘’History of Medieval Deccan as reflected in Arabic and Persian Manuscripts’’

Venue: AP State Archives, Hyderabad, A. P.

Date: Nov. 2011

National seminar on “Manuscripts Heritage on Astronomy”

Venue: Oriental Research Institute, SV University, Tirupati, A.P

Date: To be announced

National seminar on “Siddha Manuscripts”

Venue: Govt. Museum, Egmore, Chennai, T.N

Date: To be announced

National seminar on “Oral and written forms-the Literary Tradition of India”

Sri Potti Sriramulu, Telugu University, Hyderabad, A. P.

Date: To be announced

National seminar on “Advaita Vedanta and Nyaya”

Venue: Manuscript Library, University of Calcutta, Kolkata West Bengal

Date: 27th-30th Dec. 2011

National seminar on “Kashmir Manuscripts”

State Archaeology Archives & Museum, Mubarak Mandi, Jammu, J& K

Date: To be announced

National seminar on “Jain Manuscripts”

Venue: Sri Dev Kumar Jain Oriental Research Institute, Arrh, Bihar

Date: To be announced

International seminar on ” Colonial note from the continuity of Culture: Emerging study of Manuscriptology”

Venue: Dept. of Bengali, Assam University, Silchar, Assam

Date: 16th-18th January 2012

National seminar on “Tantra Manuscripts”

Venue: Dept. of Sanskrit, Pali & Prakrit, Kurukshetra Unv.,  Kurukshetra, Haryana

Date: To be announced

National seminar on “ Garhwal mein Upalabdh Pandulipiyan

Venue: Dept. of Sanskrit,     HNB Garhwal Unv. Pauri Garhwal, U.K

Date: To be announced

National seminar on “History of Tripura in the medieval period as reflected in Manuscripts

Venue: Dept. of History,   Tripura University, Tripura

Date: 19th-20th Jan. 2012


Basic Level Workshops on Manuscriptology & Palaeography


Venue: Dept. of Manuscriptology, Kannada University, Hampi, Karnataka

Date: 13th -27th Sept. 2011

Venue: Oriental Research Institute, SV University, Tirupati,  A.P

Date: 7th – 21st Dec. 2011

Venue: Kameswar Singh Darbhanga Sanskrit University, Darbhanga, Bihar

Date: To be announced

Venue: Akhila Bharatiya Sanskrit Parishad, Lucknow, U.P

Date: 1st -21st November 2011

Venue: Orissa State Museum, Bhubaneswar, Orissa

Date: 15th – 29th July  2011

Venue: State Archaeology Archives & Museum,  Mubarak Mandi, Jammu, J& K

Date: To be announced

Venue: Rajasthan Oriental Research Institute, Jodhpur, Rajasthan

Date: Dec.- Jan. 2011-12

Venue: Dept. of Urdu, University of Mumbai, Mumbai, Maharashtra

Date: To be announced

Venue: Kamalanagar College, Kamalanagar, Mizoram

Date: 21st – 30th Jan. 2012

Venue: Dept. of Sanskrit, Gurukul Kangri University, Haridwar, Utarakhand

Date: To be announced

Venue: Dept. of Sanskrit, Bardhwan University, Bardwan W.B

Date: To be announced

Venue: Maharishi Panini Evam Vedic University, Ujjain, M.P.

Date: To be announced

Venue: Dept. of Sanskrit, M.T.B. Arts College, Surat, Gujarat

Date: To be announced


Advanced Level Workshops on Manuscriptology and Palaeography


Venue:  Dept. of Arabic, University of Calicut, Centre for Heritage studies, Dept. of Cultural Affairs, Govt. of Kerala, Kerala

Date: 12th Oct. to 13th Nov. 2011

Venue: Shri Somanath Sanskrit University, Gujarat

Date: 29th Nov. 2011

Venue: IGNCA, Varanasi Branch, Varanasi, U.P

Date: To be announced

Venue: National Institute of Prakrit Studies and Research, Shri Davala Teerth, Srovanabelagola, Hassan, Karnataka

Date: To be announced

Venue: Anandashram Santha, Pune, Maharashtra

Date: To be announced

Venue:  KKHL, Gauhati University, Guwahati, Assam

Date: To be announced


Further information on Namani can be found the CLAC Digital Archives section. The details of the organizers of each event can be found here.


A taste of golden rice …

Straying somewhat from the purpose of this research project, but delightful nonetheless, here is an appetizing artifact photographed among a vast collection of objects and documents dating from the golden years of the former Palayakkarar (later Zamindar) family of Uttukuli which we met last week during a document field search in Kongu Nadu :


Front side....



... et bon appetit !


Several gold leaves still remained in the leaflet, not so tasty after all…


Manuscripts of the Syrian Christians

An ongoing project on the preservation and digitization of manuscripts in Kerala has just come to our attention:

Project for preserving the Manuscripts of the Syrian Christians in India

In Kerala, South India, one finds many thousands Syriac, Malayalam, Malayanma, Kolezhuttu, Vattezhuttu manuscripts of older and more recent date, all belonging to the autochthonous communities of the St Thomas Christians, a seven million-strong minority group that has lived organically incorporated into the local Hindu society for almost two thousand years. Because of the humid, tropical climate and other factors, these manuscripts are greatly endangered. The present complex international project, based on cooperation between Indian, German, Hungarian and American institutions, aims at saving these manuscripts both in their content and in their physical reality.

Its means are as follows: as a first step, the tasks of digitising and describing the manuscripts are undertaken; as a second step, an organised electronic data-base is established and the most important manuscripts are published in facsimile editions, together with their respective scholarly descriptions; in the third stage of the process, the data obtained are used for clarifying many an obscure point of the history of Christianity in Kerala, as well as for publishing, translating and interpreting the newly discovered texts. The new information issuing from the treatment of the Indian Syrian manuscripts sheds light not only on local history, but also on the communication network that has linked, over the centuries, this minority to all branches of the Syrian Christians living in a diaspora all over the Middle East.

This is an open-ended project, the keywords of which are preservation, access and recycling. Thus, besides preservation, by means of open-access electronic publications, it makes the manuscripts accessible for the wider scholarly community. At the same time, the benefits resulting from the publications are returned to the proprietors, on the condition that they spend the proceeds on the conservation of the original manuscripts, in their physical reality.

This project involves the Oriental Institute (Orientalisches Seminar)/ Eberhard Karls University (Tübingen), the Center for Hellenic Traditions/ Central European University (Budapest) and Beth Mardutho: The Syriac Institute, Piscataway, New Jersey, USA. To view the project website, click here.