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Ramayana Goes Digital

Compiled/Written by Murali Kamma Email Compiled/Written by Murali Kamma
May 2013
Ramayana Goes Digital

In May, one of the most lavishly illustrated, surviving manuscripts of the Ramayana becomes available online to browsers. To make it happen, the British Library worked with Mumbai’s CSMVS Museum—which owns 20 percent of the manuscript—and other institutions like the Jamsetji Tata Trust, which is helping with the funding. Prime Minister David Cameron made this announcement when he went to India in February.

The British Library holds the remaining 80 percent of the Mewar Ramayana, which contains more than 400 paintings. It was commissioned by Rana Jagat Singh I of Mewar in 1649. The British Library’s South Asian collections are “the richest and most extensive outside the subcontinent,” according to Chief Executive Roly Keating, who adds, “We hope that the digitization of this unique text on this digital platform will allow people to study and enjoy this great treasure as never before.”

The 17th-century Mewar manuscript, separated since the 19th century, is finally coming together again—albeit virtually—in the 21st century. Also this year, U.K.-based Daljit Nagra is coming out with his verse adaptation of the Ramayana.

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