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550 handwritten manuscripts of Guru Granth Sahib digitised

CSSGGS has scheduled a webinar in the first week of September to mark the 417th installation day of Guru Granth Sahib to showcase, among other things, the work carried out by it to preserve old manuscripts of the holy scripture, said CSSGGS director Dr Amarjit Singh.

As many as 170 dated saroops are among 550 handwritten manuscripts of Guru Granth Sahib that have been digitised by Guru Nanak Dev University’s Centre on Studies in Sri Guru Granth Sahib (CSSGGS).

In an exercise spanning over seven years so far and continuing still, CSSGGS accessed the Guru Granth Sahib manuscripts from individuals and Sikh institutions from Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Delhi, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and even Nepal.

CSSGGS has scheduled a webinar in the first week of September to mark the 417th installation day of Guru Granth Sahib to showcase, among other things, the work carried out by it to preserve old manuscripts of the holy scripture, said CSSGGS director Dr Amarjit Singh.

Dr Singh said that apart from 550 manuscripts of Guru Granth Sahib, the CSSGGS had also digitised 70 copies of hand written Dasam Granth and another 500 pothis containing Sikh religious text.

He informed that the 170 dated manuscripts that had been digitized were written between 1707 AD and 1800 AD.

Dr Sigh added that “there were 20 such saroops which had hand written mool mantar nishan (signature) of Guru Arjan Dev, Guru Har Rai, Guru Teg Bahadur and Guru Gobind Singh”.

The ongoing project has entered third phase now as the CSSGGS continues its quest to look for more hand written copies of Guru Granth Sahib for digitization.

“In the form of a book, our Centre had published a descriptive list of hand written manuscripts in November 2020. The second part of the book is under publication and we have already started the third phase of the project,” said Dr Singh.

The exercise to access manuscripts has been a challenging one. “Many individuals were not ready to give access to the manuscripts they had. They had reservations that if it became public, the manuscripts they had may be taken away from them,” said Dr Singh. “In Moga, a family refused to give access to the manuscript they had despite several efforts. Even late Joginder Singh Vedanti, the former chief of Akal Takht, tried very hard to convince them to provide the manuscript for digitisation, but they did not agree,” said Dr Singh.

On how CSSGGS learns about the presence of hand written manuscripts with individuals, he said, “We keep in touch with various Sikh institutions. Also, there is an organisation in Sangrur which provides free service for upkeep and maintenance of old birs and saroops. We get information about such manuscripts from them in case someone approaches for upkeep and maintenance.”

Dr Singh said that some of the copies that had been digitised even mentioned the method and constituents of ink used by putting a “special note”. He added that different kinds of papers were used to write the holy text.

 

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