Rare papers on Buddhist religion, philosophy missing

Dr. Jai Maharaj jai at FLEX.COM
Fri Sep 12 19:20:02 UTC 1997

Rare papers on Buddhist religion, philosophy missing

By Subhash Pathak
The Hindustan Times
August 25, 1997

World acclaimed research papers and rare books of the Bihar Research
Society are mysteriously missing due to neglect by the society staff and the State Government. Rarest manuscripts of Rahul Sankrityayan brought from Tibet have not been seen for ages.

What is disturbing is that certain terms from abroad are reportedly
at work preparing microfilms of these priceless papers with the connivance of vested interests.

Notably, the society, which was established way back in 1915 for
facilitating historical research and archaeological references, has
in its proud possession the rarest manuscripts on Buddhist religion and philosophy, treatises on historical and cultural heritage, original manuscripts on medicine and tantra, besides a number of
film and glass negatives.

All these had been in great demand among research scholars not only
of the country but also those of other countries like Britain, America.  France, Germany, Japan, China, Thailand and Sri Lanka --
among others.

But disappearance of thousands of books, research papers and manuscripts under mysterious circumstances from the society, and
decay of other collection for want of proper care and scientific treatment, has sent shockwaves among the historical and cultural research scholars.

One of the prominent members of the society and eminenet sociologist, Prof Hetukar Jha and former Director of Archaeology, Bihar, Mr
Prakash Charan Prasad, too had voiced their concern over the
dwindling number of collections.

They suspect that precious treasures of the country are being smuggled. They said that the recent visit by officials of the
society to Japan and subsequent agreement with a Japanese firm for publishing some manuscripts without taking formal  permission from
the Government only lent credence to the apprehension.

It may he noted that a team of four Japanese scholars comprising
Prof Kazuo Azuma and Hidomi Yaita, had visited the society a few
years ago and had discussions with the registrar of the society, Mr Gopi Raman Chaudhary. The team stayed at a local hotel for ten days where Mr Chaudhary helped them make microfilms of several priceless manuscripts, as revealed by Dr Shiv Kumar Mishra of the society.

According to one section of the officials any investigating agency would now he handicapped for the fact that index card of the missing manuscripts were not prepared.  They were documented properly. A list of some journals negatives and manuscripts, however, was published a few years back. It contained a lot of discrepancies as many collections were not even mentioned, added Prof Hetukar Jha.

Confirming that thousands of books and journals were taken by some
high-profile officials and members of the society, a senior member of the society on the condition of anonymity, said that these could not be recovered now.

Admittedly, all norms were thrown to the winds regarding issuance of books to the society members. As per the norms, one member is
entitled to take only six books for a period of one month. But hundreds of books are still in the possession of the society members for over a decade now.  Moreover, there is no catalogue of books in the society. Nor is there any despatch register maintains since
1960, said Dr S. K. Mishra.

Even though the condition the society, headed by former Chief
Minister Jagannath Mishra, is deteriorating day by day, its general secretary, Prof P.N. Ojha, has not been attending the office for the last two-and-a-half years.

Meanwhile, the society has virtually been closed to research scholars as the society's employees have remained on strike for the last four months to protest the dwindling number of valuable books, journals
and rare manuscripts for want of adequate care as also non-payment of their salaries for the last four years.

Expressing serious concern over the plight of the society and its staff, Dr Prakash Charan Prasad has urged the Central Government to intervene in the matter and declare it as a national heritage.  Otherwise, the rarest of all collections would soon be lost forever. The BRS registrar, Mr Gopi Raman Chaudhary was not available for comments.

End of authorized reproduction.

Jai Maharaj
Om Shanti

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