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Mob destroys invaluable pages of history

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  • Mahavir
    EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE Pune s prestigious Bhandarkar institute may have lost a priceless collection, including rare Jain Manuscripts. PUNE, JANUARY 5: Pouncing
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 6, 2004
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      Pune's prestigious Bhandarkar institute may have lost a priceless
      collection, including rare Jain Manuscripts.

      PUNE, JANUARY 5: Pouncing on what should have been the subject of a
      literary debate, hooligans in Pune today robbed the country of a
      treasure trove when they ransacked the Bhandarkar Oriental Research
      Institute, home to a large number of rare books, manuscripts and
      priceless articles.

      Days after forcing historian James Laine to apologise for his
      observations on the parentage of Maratha warrior king Shivaji — the
      Oxford University Press had to even recall Laine's Shivaji: Hindu
      king in Islami India — a 200-strong mob, calling itself the Sambhaji
      Brigade of the Maratha Seva Sangh, landed at the Bhandarkar institute
      this morning and went on the rampage.

      Snapping telephone lines, the mob tore books, rare writings and
      damaged artefacts and several framed paintings and photos. The
      departments of Mahabharatiya, manuscripts, publication, postgraduate
      teaching and research bore the brunt of the attack.The police showed
      up 45 minutes after the attack, citing ``lack of information''as the
      reason for the delay. So far, 72 people have been arrested.

      The shocking incident comes in the wake of the December 22 incident
      when Shiv Sena supporters manhandled and humiliated historian
      Shrikant Bahulkar, named by Laine in the book's acknowledgements.

      Later, Sena leader Raj Thackeray apologised to Bahulkar, also a
      member of the Bhandarkar institute's governing council.

      The Bhandarkar institute, which attracts world scholars was
      established on July 6, 1917. By 1920, the then Bombay administration
      had handed over its entire collection of 20,000 manuscripts to the
      institute for indexing and preservation.

      Today's attack outraged the literary circle. Estimating the damage is
      going to be the first and most painful task. Says former institute
      secretary M G Dhadphale: ``It's difficult to even comprehened the
      extent of the loss. With the 1920s collection and books from
      Bhandarkar's pesonal library damaged, where do we go from here?''

      ``Someone found a copy of Sanacharya's commentary on the Rig Veda
      lying on the road. He was sensible enough to return it to me.'' M A
      Mehendale, chief editor of the cultural index of Mahabharata, summed
      it up when he said: ``Our entire life's effort has been destroyed by
      these senseless people.''
      --- End forwarded message ---
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