Rare Manuscripts Seized By Customs Hand Over To ASI In Bhubaneswar

Bhubaneswar: Rare palm leaf and hand-written manuscripts, which were being smuggled to Spain and France through speed posts and seized by Bhubaneshwar Customs, have been handed over to Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) here.

During inspection of a foreign post parcel to Spain, the officers of Bhubaneshwar Customs in October 2019 found palm leaf manuscript with 155 leaves with hard wooden supporting covers at top and bottom. It is written in Odia script and language. It contains 10th chapter of Srimad Bhagwat Mahapurana. The manuscript appears to have been composed in classical Champu, which is a genre of literary composition in Indian literature that consists of a mixture of prose (Gadya- Kavya) and poetry passages (Padya-Kavya), with verses interspersed among prose sections.

The palm leaf manuscript is believed to be 300 years old.

Customs officials informed that one Kiran Pai of Puri had booked the speed post on October 10, 2019 and it was received at Customs foreign post office in Bhubaneswar for examination and clearance.

The other handmade manuscript, destined to France and withheld by Bhubaneshwar Customs in October 2020, has 17 leaves in Devanagari script and appear to contain Buddhist texts. The writing on the leaves is with black and red ink.

Officials of the foreign post office had retained this courier booked by one Tamdin Gyalpo of Gajapati district on October 24, 2020.  It is believed to be over 80 years old.

The manuscripts were handed over by principal chief commissioner Sanjay Pant, holding additional charge of Customs Bhubaneswar zone, to superintending archaeologist (Bhubaneswar Circle) Sushant Kumar Kar.

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman virtually presided over the handing over process of seized 101 antiquity items to the ASI at seven different locations – Bengaluru, Bhopal, Bhubaneshwar, Delhi, Guwahati, Mumbai and Pune.



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