Manuscripts that Saved by Microfilming before got Fire

Palm-leaf Manuscript

There is always fear of loss manuscripts by fire, water, mouse, thief and natural calamities. Nepal-Germany Manuscript Preservation Project (NGMPP, 1970–2001) had saved Nepalese literary heritage microfilming them in time. It was started to preserve in microfilm manuscripts of National Archives under the code A and B as of agreement between Government of Nepal, Department of Archeology and the German Oriental Society held in February 16, 1970. Microfilm reel No. A and B were named to the camera filming side by side in the beginning of the project. It got permission to microfilm out of National Archives within Bagmati Zone since 1976 in its second extension of five years (1976–80) which were microfilmed in the series of C. (Kesar Library), D (private, filmed in NA), E (filmed in NGMPP office and some of private libraries) and so on, In third extension (1981–85) in 1982, it got permission to microfilm manuscripts from monasteries of Nepal Himalaya. So, it microfilmed first at Cholkang Gompa in Langtang and Tarkeghyang. Helambu expedition in 1983 in L-series (L 1/1, April 22, which ended in L 1231/12, November 16, 2000, Roe (Samagaun), Nubri, Gorkha).

NGMPP Tibetan section planned to microfilm of Tengboche monastery, Solokhumbu district and filmed there manuscripts L 162–185 (185 texts, 15766 folios) in April 29 to May 13, 1988 in two weeks. In 1989 the monastery’s library got fire to ashes. The unique manuscripts deposited there were preserved in film by NGMPP about a Year ago.

NGMPP Sanskrit section got chance to microfilm of historical materials from Pashupati Gosvara under the code PN (Pashupati Nath) from September 11, 1998 to March 31, 2000. Madan Bhatta, the priest of Agam of Pashupati provided to microfilm his collection of 204 manuscripts and 136 documents in February 18, 1999 to February 24, 2000. The four-storey Agam Ghar caught fire of at night of Saturday, June 25, 2005 and continued to burn for hours. Luckily, those historical materials are in microfilm stored in the National Archives.

In the sixth (1996–2001) and the last extension of NGMPP, it planned to go in expedition to Nubri, Gorkha district to microfilm manuscripts from the monasteries of village Prok, November 2–7, 2000 (234 texts) and Roe (Samagaun), Nov. 10–16, 2000 (234 texts). After two months in 2001, the entire village of Prok caught fire. Valuable manuscripts and documents of the monastery there destroyed leaving them in microfilm in the National Archives.

References:

Bajracharya, Mudita, 2005. How microfilming saved history, The Himalayan Times, Friday, August 5. p 1

Dimitrov, Dragomir and Kashinath Tamot, 2005. Nepali heritage on fire, The Kathmandu Post, Sunday, September, p. 4.

Hanisch, Albrecht, 2008. Nearly half a century of Nepalese-German Research Cooperation : The work of NRC, NGMPP and NGMCP. In : 50 Years of Nepal-German Diplomatic Relations, Golden jubilee souvenir, April 4, pp. 95–101.

Nepal-Germany Manuscript Preservation Project (1970–2001). Field Log Books.

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