British Library & Mumbai museum digitally “reunite” Ramayana

Hindus have commended British Library London and Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (CSMVS) Mumbai for “reuniting” Mewar Ramayana, digitizing it and making it available online.

Said to be one of the finest surviving Ramayana manuscripts from 17th century carrying over 370 paintings, it was split between various organizations in United Kingdom (UK) and India for over 150 years. Its over 600 folios are now digitally reunited in a three-year project with a British Library and CSMVS partnership,  enabling wider access to a global audience. It was commissioned by Rana Jagat Singh of Mewar in 1649 and produced in his court studio at Udaipur.

Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, applauding British Library and CSMVS for this joint venture in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, urged world libraries and museums to undertake projects to explore the rich philosophical thought and wisdom offered by Hinduism and Hindu scriptures.

Rajan Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, appealed to major art museums of the world; including Musee du Louvre and Musee d’Orsay of Paris, Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Los Angeles Getty Center, Uffizi Gallery of Florence (Italy), Art Institute of Chicago, Tate Modern of London, Prado Museum of Madrid, National Gallery of Art in Washington DC, etc.; to frequently organize Hindu art focused exhibitions, thus sharing the rich Hindu art heritage with the rest of the world.

Ramayana, an ancient Sanskrit scripture that consists of 24,000 stanzas, explores various themes, including human existence, concept of dharma, etc. Hinduism, oldest and third largest religion of the world, has about one billion adherents and moksh (liberation) is its ultimate goal.

The British Library is the national library of UK and claims to be one of the world’s greatest research libraries. Its collection exceeds 150 million items; including the world’s earliest dated printed book Diamond Sutra, Magna Carta, Beatles manuscripts and some material over 3,000 years old. Baroness Blackstone is Board Chairman while Roly Keating is Chief Executive.

CSMVS, founded in early 1900s, claims to be one of the premier art and history museums in India housing a world-class collection of over 60,000 artifacts from Asia and Europe. Eknath A. Kshirsagar is Trustees Chairman and Sabyasachi Mukherjee is the Director General.

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