Nov 26, 2008

India - Rig Veda among UNESCO heritage list

Renuka Narayanan

Thirty Manuscripts of the Rig Veda, in the archives of the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute (BORI), Pune, have been added to a UNESCO listing of the most important documents from around the world.

UNESCO set up a ‘Memory of the World Register’ 15 years ago to list documentary heritage of outstanding value. Its international advisory committee, after a meeting on Wednesday in Pretoria, South Africa, added 38 new entries, including the Rig Veda copies.

Among other nominees were manuscripts like the scripts of the films The Story of the Kelly Gang (1906) and The Wizard of Oz (1939); The Convict Records of Australia (1788-1868), and the Criminal Court Case No. 253/1963 (State vs. Nelson Mandela). Although the Rig Veda was composed over 3,000 years ago, these manuscripts were written much later, in the 15th century.

BORI’s M G Dadhphale said: “These were the very manuscripts referred to by German scholar Max Mueller, who first translated the Vedas into English. These manuscripts link our oldest text with the modern world.”

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