Minister: Ancient manuscripts reminder of bygone glory

Tehran, Dec 31, IRNA — Book and pen are “guardians of knowledge and wisdom and illuminators of thinkers and sages,” Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance Ali Jannati said at the 14th commemoration ceremony of supporters of manuscripts on Monday.
  Defining manuscripts as an ancient means of transferring knowledge, wisdom and culture which possess a unique status in every civilization in the world, Jannati said, “It is through these manuscripts that we get to know the culture and science of the times bygone. They also serve as a reminder of our ancestors’ glorious identity.”

He underlined that identifying and utilizing genuine and lasting Islamic and Iranian tradition is only possible via accurate understanding of manuscripts, reported.

“Just as conducting comprehensive research is fundamental to improve many a field of science and humanities, preserving and repairing these precious objects of culture and civilization (manuscripts) is the first step to take advantage of these valuable resources,” he added.

Other measures to maintain and benefit from manuscripts are: digital imaging of texts, documentation of the versions and providing researchers with access to them, indexing the written sources, and finally their contrasting, correcting, and methodical and scientific research.

This year’s ceremony commemorated the diligent researcher, skilled bibliographer, and scholar of Islamic/Iranian culture and civilization Ayatollah Azizollah Atarodi. He hugely contributed to the various fields of manuscripts, from their identification in Iran and countries, far and near, to reviewing and correcting them.

Pointing to the existing statistics, director of the National Library Seyed Reza Salehi-Amiri said, “about a million manuscripts belonging to Iran are in the Indian sub-continent, some half a million in the Central Asia, and almost 400,000 within the country; however, major domestic libraries own just a few of them. For instance, in the national library, “we only have 38,000 manuscripts and 34,000 lithographed copies.”

Also speaking at the event, a member of Tehran City Council Ahmad Masjed-Jamei referred to the visit he made to the Atabeh Husseini Library in his recent trip to Karbala, Iraq, saying that the head of the library had said, “while the books here have not been listed yet, we know that there are many manuscripts related to Iran art schools.”

Masjed-Jamei asked the ministry of culture and Islamic guidance and other cultural officials to help index the resources in that library as well as others in Iraq.

President Hassan Rouhani’s special aide on ethnic groups and religious minorities Ali Yunesi, another speaker at the ceremony, said “the written heritage is even more precious than the historical artifacts, as reading them can make our future.”

A number of officials and cultural figures attended the program at the National Library and Archives in Tehran.



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