Indian Museum new home for ‘forgotten’ manuscript

The nearly 1,500-year-old Tibetan manuscript Goithongpa’, or ‘Prajnaparamita’, written in gold now lying neglected at the Kalimpong court ‘Malkhana’ for eight years has finally found a safe shelter at the Indian Museum on Friday. The high court that took suo motu cognizance of the case after a report in TOI on April 7, told the CBI to hand it over to the Indian museum.

In her April 28 order, chief justice of Calcutta HC Nishta Matre directed the CBI to handover the keys of the trunk containing the ‘Goithingpa’ manuscript to the education officer of Indian Museum by 4pm on Friday. The court also directed the museum to submit a report on the condition of the manuscript next Friday.

Speaking to TOI over phone, education officer Sayan Bhattacharya said, “We have received the manuscript and two images. We have sent all these things for preservation.” Sources in the museum said that the condition of the manuscript was very poor. “The pages are so brittle that we didn’t take the risk of opening it. The manuscript and the images was sent for preservation right away. We have just seen that it is written in gold,” a senior museum official said.

On April 7, after the report came to light, the court issued a notice to the additional chief judicial magistrate of Kalimpong court and the zonal director of CBI asking them to report the status of the manuscript. The investigation agency brought the trunk from Kalimpong and handed it over to the museum, but the keys were with the then lawyer of CBI Taposh Bosu.

When contacted, Bosu said, “Two CBI officers came to me on Thursday and I handed over the key lying with me for the last eight years. This is as if my dream has come true. I want this rare manuscript to be preserved properly. It is our national treasure.”

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