JORHAT, Sept 19 � Tai manuscripts, written on the bark of Sanchi trees in the ancient times, now lying scattered in upper Assam districts, are yet to get due recognition by the National Mission for Manuscripts, New Delhi.
It has come to light from a letter by Dipti S Tripathi, Director, National Mission for Manuscripts, Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts, New Delhi to Girin Phukan, Director, Institute of Tai Studies and Research, Moranhat, dated September 6, 2010.
Sri Phukan alleged that no such Tai manuscript has been preserved in the Manuscript Resource Centre (MRC), Guwahati till date. It has indicated the negligence towards the language as well as the communities of the Tai origin residing mostly in the upper Assam districts, he said.
In Assam, there are six local groups of people of Tai origin, namely, Tai Ahom, Tai Aiton, Tai Khamti, Tai Khamyang, Tai Phake and Tai Turung. There is a similarity among the dialects they use. Phukan said that the origin of these dialects was the same and the difference from one another is very little.
Reacting against a news report regarding UNESCO�s claim as the Tai language is an extinct language in Assam, Phukan said that there are still people of these communities in the upper Assam districts who exchange their ideas in Tai language. He also said that the fact was that the number of people speaking Tai language is too small.
In the letter from the director of National Mission for Manuscripts, it was stated that the MRC in Guwahati could not provide any information regarding Tai manuscripts in the State. The director, National Mission for Manuscripts also expressed her wish to establish an MRC primarily for Tai manuscripts and other lesser known manuscripts in the region at Institute of Tai Studies and Research, Moranhat. The MRC will have employees like conservationists, manuscriptologists and palaeographists to take up projects on publishing manuscripts. It will provide financial support to projects on descriptive catalogues and digitalisation of manuscripts.
The Institute of Tai Studies and Research, Moranhat also has been doing yeoman service to preserve the Tai manuscripts. Two books containing the images of the manuscripts, the hand written letters of the manuscripts, English and Assamese translation of the manuscripts were published by the institute so far. The names of these books are Chum-Pha-Rung-Chung-Miung and Chao-Pha-Khao-Po-Luk-Siu-Khung-Pha.
Phukan told The Assam Tribune that the interest shown by the director of National Mission for Manuscripts is quite encouraging towards the preservation of the age-old Tai manuscripts which needs a lot of money and toil.