CHENNAI: One of the largest libraries in South Asia, the Anna Centenary Library (ACL) in Kotturpuram will now house 72,000 palm-leaf and paper manuscripts as the Government Oriental Manuscripts Library and Research Centre (GOML) has been moved into the world class facility with all its rare collections this week.
Ending the six-year-long wait, the 148-year-old treasure house relocated itself from Madras University to the seventh floor of the library.
The rare and original palm-leaf and paper manuscripts at the library are 300-500 years old. The palm-leaf manuscripts include those of the Tamil classics Tirukkural, Manimegalai and Tolkappiam. The library also has 25,000 reference books in various subjects.
“It will take four or five days to arrange these manuscripts language wise. After that it will be thrown open to researchers,” an official of Government Oriental Manuscripts Library said.
This library was established in 1869 mainly to house India's first Surveyor General Mackenzie’s collection.
The palm-leaf and paper manuscripts are available in Tamil, Sanskrit, Telugu, Kannada, Urdu, Arabic, Persian and Sinhalese.
They offer an insight into subjects as varied as literature, Vedas, Agama Shastra, architecture and mathematics, astronomy and Siddha.
The entire seventh floor of the library which was allocated to rare manuscripts has been lying vacant as the GOML was reluctant to move to the new facility.
After infusing life to the library, the government has made efforts to bring the Government Oriental Manuscripts Library and Research Centre to Anna Centenary Library.
“Now, the collection has been complete in the Anna Centenary Library. We are planning to collect rare manuscripts from individuals and religious institutions for the library,” School Education secretary T. Udhayachandran said.
“Through the manuscripts mission, we have the details of the number of manuscripts available all over the state. We want to facilitate a large number of researches on the rare manuscripts,” he said.
The library has even funded for shifting the manuscripts. “It will be beneficial to the Government Oriental Manuscripts Library as well. The library will have more visibility in the
world class facility. Now, the researchers from all over the world and the country can come and do the research with the more comfortable environment,”said S. Kannappan, director (in charge), Public Libraries.
“With ACL having 5.5 lakh books, they can also refer to the books on various topics,” he said.