The International Conference on Common Heritage of Iran and India; Manuscript: Capacities and Challenges will be held on January 20 at the NLAI in Tehran.
In a press release published on Sunday, Farzaneh Azam-Lotfi, the scientific secretary of the India section of the conference said, “Manuscripts are the cultural credits and treasures, which can be considered as sources of science and arts of a nation.”
“Iran and India have numerous manuscripts; under certain historical conditions, many manuscripts have been transferred from Iran to India, which is a great place for preserving historical documents and rare manuscripts,” she added.
She noted that the preservation of valuable manuscripts in and of itself should not be viewed as a priority if these documents are not to be used for academic purposes.
One goal of this conference mission is to encourage scholars to actualize the manuscripts’ potential for academic research projects.
The organizers have received over 50 articles, most of which are from India and Pakistan.
Calling the National Mission for Manuscripts in New Delhi and the University of Calcutta the major centers for rare manuscripts written in Sanskrit, Arabic, Persian and several other languages, Azam-Lotfi expressed her hope that the conference can encourage scholars to use the valuable resources of science more than ever.
Topics such as the history of manuscript studies in India, editing and review of manuscripts, introducing rare manuscripts and new collections, the art of bookbinding, and the preservation and restoration of manuscripts will also be discussed during the conference.
Iranian cultural officials and figures have frequently visited a number of Indian libraries and manuscript centers over the past decades.
For example, earlier in 2012, the then director of the National Library and Archives of Iran visited India’s Aligarh Muslim University, signing a memorandum of understanding that urges collaboration on bibliographies and the restoration of Persian manuscripts.
Es’haq Salahi said that the university keeps about 16,000 manuscripts, about 8,000 of which are in Persian. He also paid a visit to the National Archives of India in Calcutta.
However, earlier in 2009, Nasser Golbaz, the executive manager and designer of the Iranian World’s Manuscripts Databank, had expressed concern that the dearth of appropriate facilities imperils many Persian manuscripts in India and Pakistan.
“There is not even a shelf to hold the books,” Nasser Golbaz said.
Golbaz’s efforts over a 9-year period in compiling information on Persian manuscripts led to the establishment of the World’s Manuscripts Databank by the sponsorship of Iran’s Book House and the National Library and Archive of Iran in August 2008.