National Mission for Manuscripts documents over 40 lakh manuscripts so far

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New Delhi: Thirteen-year-old government body National Mission for Manuscripts (NMM) has so far documented over 40,82,363 manuscripts. A maximum number of 19,15,374 manuscripts have been unearthed and preserved in the category of “Other” languages and the least number of manuscripts in ‘Urdu’ language at 16, 678.

The NMM was established by the Ministry of Tourism and Culture. Other important languages in which manuscripts have been documented are Sanskrit, Odia, Hindi, Tamil, Malayalam, Kannada, Persian, Bengali among others.

An ambitious project in its programme and mandate, the Mission seeks to unearth and preserve the vast manuscript wealth of India. A total of 11,66, 743; 2,13,088; 1,99,883 manuscripts has been documented by the Mission for the languages Sanskrit, Odia and Hindi respectively.

India possesses an estimate of five million manuscripts, probably the largest collection in the world. These cover a variety of themes, textures and aesthetics, scripts, languages, calligraphies, illuminations and illustrations. Also, 55,436 valuable manuscripts containing the practice of Siddha and Ayurvedic medicines have been documented by the NMM. Together, they constitute the ‘memory’ of India’s history, heritage and thought.

The National Mission for Manuscripts aims to locate, document, preserve and render these to connect India’s past with its future, its memory with its aspirations. One of the prime objectives of releasing data on the website is to help scholars in locating the manuscripts preserved in their respective repositories.

(The article was first published in