Three examples are presented here :
(a) A Palm-leaf manuscript
in Grantha, (an archaic script used
in South India) believed to be about
200 years old containing the part of
the text from the
concluding part of the Valmiki Ramayana.
(b) A Stone inscription in the ancient Brahmi script, about 2000 years old, from a rock cave in Pugalur in Tamil Nadu.
(c) The Hebrew version of Psalm 23 from the Book of Psalms of the Old Testament.
The original manuscript in the first case and a photograph
in the second case, were scanned and the scanned
images processed to enhance their clarity and make them directly readable
on the computer screen. . The Software Package developed
by the IIT Madras
was used to transcribe their contents
into Grantha and Tamil respectively. In the third case, the
text was directly transcribed from the Hebrew version of the Old Testament.
It is shown how, once the first such transcript is prepared,
the Package can instantaneously generate transliterated
equivalents in other old or new scripts like Sanskrit or IPA
(International PhoneticAlphabet). The original images
with the corresponding transcripts
have been incorporated into HTML files
making it possible to view them
within a single document on
a computer, either offline
or through the Internet,
using Netscape, (Version 4), Internet Explorer
or any similar browser.
Custodians of such valuable materials are naturally hesitant to part with their custody. Our proposal therefore is that a portable PC and Scanner be taken to places of such custody and the scanning done there itself without having to ask for taking them away for this purpose. A systematic and rapid programme for the preservation of ancient manuscripts and the widest possible dissemination of their contents through the methodology described above, will open them to the widest scholastic scrutiny, analysis and study.