The State Museum of Odisha in Bhubaneswar has lost over half of its valuable artefacts in four years, putting the Culture Department in hot water.
Details about the Odisha State Museum has lost 20K palm leaf manuscripts
Following an RTI request by one Laxminarayan Kanungo regarding the number of manuscripts and antiquities in the museum, it was discovered that the facility houses approximately 20,000 palm-leaf manuscripts and 50,000 antiquities.
In addition to saving and maintaining the manuscripts, the museum has digitised them.
However, it contradicted the number provided in the e-pothi programme (online cataloguing of manuscripts) launched by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik in 2014, which stated that there are approximately 40,000 manuscripts preserved in the museum and classified under 27 categories such as Vedas, tantra, religion, scriptures, Ayurveda, music, maths, and astrology, among others.
Furthermore, under the time of former museum superintendent Chandrabhanu Patel, the museum journal documented 37,273 manuscripts.
“Since the museum keeps buying and collecting manuscripts, we must have added another 4,000 to 5,000 manuscripts to our collection in all these years. “There is no disagreement in numbers because we have always cited the manuscript audit report in the State Assembly whenever a query is raised,” Odisha State Museum Superintendent Bhagyalipi Malla was quoted as saying by TNIE.
Malla noted that each bundle of manuscripts saved in the museum counts as one unit, yet it contains eight to ten manuscripts on a variety of subjects.
Meanwhile, the department’s director, Ranjan Das, has yet to comment on the matter.