THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Antique coins dating back to over 5,000 years, palm-leaf manuscripts which are over 500 years old and century-old wooden footwear called ‘methiyadi’ are some of the rare items that came to the fore during a survey of archives carried out by the state literacy mission in association with the Archives department.
A total of 1.42 lakh ancient manuscripts, including 37,901 on palm leaf, were found across the state during the survey. Of these, 632 are over 500 years old while the age of 7,399 palm leaf manuscripts could not be ascertained.
The survey also brought to the fore over 53,000 documents that shed valuable information on local struggles and people’s movements that may not have found a place in recorded history. Centuries-old editions of newspapers such as Rajya Samachar, London Gazette and Bombay Samachar were also recovered during the survey.
A comprehensive report on the survey was released on Wednesday by Museums, Archaeology and Archives Minister Ramachandran Kadannapally and General Education Minister C Raveendranath. The report also contains suggestions to the government on conserving the ancient treasure trove, presently in the possession of various individuals.
The report states private individuals and organisations which are in possession of historically significant materials were not willing to part with them. Hence, a massive project to digitise the documents should be carried out.
People in possession of such rare manuscripts and articles should be provided the technical know-how on preserving them. Steps should be taken to set up museums at the local or district level to showcase such rare manuscripts, the report recommends.
Allowing students and researchers access to the material and awareness campaign for public on the importance of preserving archives are the other suggestions in the report.