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Tripura varsity to preserve Chakma manuscripts

Agartala: The Tripura University has taken initiative to preserve hundreds of valuable manuscripts, bound in animal hides, lying in possession of Chakma tribes.

The manuscripts, nearly a century old, deal with diverse subjects like the history of ethnic tribes, their culture, music, herbal medicine practices and Hinayana Buddhism.

The speciality of these manuscripts are that they are all bound in animal hides, which, experts think, was done to withstand the ravages of time.

Historian Satyadeo Poddar, who is also the Director of the University's history department and manuscripts centre, said animal hides used to bind the manuscripts were sourced from animals like deer, python, bear and leopard.

The unique manuscripts were recently exhibited at Penchathal, a small town in North Tripura district, organised by the Tripura University and the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council during a seminar. In all 172 such manuscripts were exhibited in the seminar.

"Many historians, who work on old manuscripts, were not at all aware that manuscripts could be preserved with animal hides as their covers," Poddar said.

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