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Tracing Indian Roots through manuscripts

Tracing Indian Roots through manuscripts

Author: Patrick Coelho
Publication: The Free Press Publication
Date: September 22, 2002

The Ananthacharya Indological Research Institute at Cuffe parade was founded in 1974 by Dr K. K. Venkatachari, and receives support from Sri Venkatesa Devsthanam at Fanaswadi, Girgaum. Today, the Director, Prof. (Dr) R. M. Dave, ably runs the Institute with the support of about ten members of his faculty including visiting professors. The Institute has affiliations to Mumbai University and Madras University.

The institute boasts of a fine collection of about 13,000 books in different languages and subjects that include Sanskrit, Religion, Philosophy, Culture, Indian History, Art, Architecture, Sculpture, painting, Dance, Archaeology, Epigraph, Numismatics and Iconography. What's even more impressive is the collection of eight hundred palm-leaf manuscripts that have been maintained in an air-conditioned research room by Professor K., K. C. Lakshmi Narasimhan and his team.

The manuscripts, usually used by Naadi astrologers from South, are over 300 years old, and have been obtained from various priests and scholars over the years. Narasimhan, who is a Sanskrit scholar and an expert in the preservation of ancient manuscripts, ensures that the Institute's priceless palm-leaf manuscripts are kept free from dust and from excess light. The manuscripts are preserved well with the periodical application of lemon grass oil, and by fumigation., The topics covered by the manuscripts include Vedic Samhitas, Epics, Upnishads, Vedanta, Dharmashstra, Samskaras, Kavya, Poetics, Ganita and Medicine.

Culture buffs can avail of the Institute's 'Integrated Foundation Course in Indian Culture', a Certificate programme that commence on 23 September 2002, and will continue till the end of March 2003.

Classes will be held every Monday and Wednesday from 6 PM to 8 PM. Dr Dave says the course involves the study of four main areas - ancient Indian history, ancient Indian language, Indian philosophy and religion, ancient Indian art, architecture and art forms. He asserts that students for their course come from all walks of life, but with a common ground: a genuine interest in India's ancient culture and heritage. He goes on to say that lively debates and discussions are part of the classroom activities during a regular day

The Institute also has a six month 'Foundation Course in Sanskrit' (Spoken and written), which commences on 25 September 2002 and will continue till the end of March 2003. Classes will be held every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 2 PM - 4 PM. The medium of instruction will be English and Sanskrit.

Besides these shorter courses, the Institute conducts a three-year bachelor's degree in Vaisnavism (English and Tamil medium) through their Institute of Correspondence Education. This degree course is conducted in affiliation with Madras University. The Institute also has a master's degree by Research and Ph. D. programmes in Sanskrit, Philosophy, and Ancient Indian Culture. Both These programmes are recognised by Mumbai University. Currently there are nine scholars pursuing their Ph.D. degrees and four scholars for the M. a. by Research conducted by the Institute.

So if you are really trying to get to your roots, then Anathacharya Indological Research Institute is the place to study in Mumbai.

(For further details contact : Ananthacharya Indological Research Institute, Tel: 218 4174).

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