Friday, May 31, 2013

Gifts from abroad May 2013

It is almost like Christmas, when shipments arrive from Library of Congress offices - Delhi, Islamabad, Cairo, etc.  What an excitement, surprises, and joy to unpack the boxes and open up all those gifts - books, serials, DVDs, etc. These sets of shipments arrive 3 or more times a year - this month it was mainly South Asian and Delhi materials, Christmas in May! And consisted of some Art and Archeology books, Bangladesh DVDs, and titles in English, Urdu, Hindi, Sanskrit, Arabic, Pali, etc.

Here are three lists followed by some descriptions
1) Art and Archeology
2) Bangladesh DVDs
and 3) Selected Titles

 1) Art and Archeology
 5000 years of Indian art by Sushma Bahl
wow. Archeology and Roots - before and after Harappa and the Indus Valley. Mughals again - gardens. And what is it with these Bengalis - prolific, interesting, amazing. Did Tagore die recently or about 100 years ago or something - lots and lots of books on him in recent years. The Bengal volume is amazing - good representations, little biographies and interesting time lines, all within the confines of only 463 pages of this huge volume. See also the 3 volume "Encyclopaedia of Indian temple architecture" which includes Khajaraho in the second volume and some Nagpur temples in its third volume; besides Indian art, there is the Bangladesh modern architecture book, and Sri Lanka book on an art project of Tamil life during the Civil War.

2) Bangladesh DVDs
33 Bangladesh DVDs on various social, political, economic, and women's issues, from the "Steps Towards Development" organization. Mostly from the 2000s, mostly with English subtitles of Bengali language films. Running time mainly between 20-60 minutes.

3) Selected Titles 

Tigers in the emerald forest : Ranthambhore after... by Valmik Thapar

How the Firefly Got Its Light. by Kumar, PradyumnaChurning the earth : the making of global India by Aseem ShrivastavaMany interesting books here. Bihar's Champaran district has its own coffee table - now Saran distict needs one with photos of the Hathi Bazaar at the Sonepur mela. Another coffee table book on Rajasthan followed by one on its tigers in Ranthambhore. A re-publication of Mussoorie merchant's letters of the 1830s. Fascinating examples of fading indigenous knowledge and skills. How did the firefly get its light? a beautiful graphic book. Three fading groups of people as their soul survivors. Global India's warming ecology plus an autobiography of one of its foremost activists, Sunderlal Bahuguna. And more, much more - Islam, colonial ethnography (Mushirul Hasan edited), Gandhi's khadi, Sufis, four books on women (two on Sri Lanka and post-tsunami), Premchand's short stories in translation, Mir Taki Mir, Kalidasa - the Cloud (not the iCloud though). Two great photographic books - one of 19th century photos of buildings as well as social groups (photos, video), and one of panoramic views of India today (photos, video).

Tell me about other great and exciting books you have seen recently.  Or what do you think of these?

The Selected list -

A bibliography of selected titles received from Delhi, May 2013.
(Philip McEldowney, University of Virginia)

  1. Tiwary, Nishant. Celebrating Bihar: The Charm of Champaran. New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2012.
  2. Thapar, Valmik, Amita Chhabra, and Sanjna Kapoor. Tigers in the Emerald Forest: Ranthambhore After the Monsoon. New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2012.
  3. Sahaney, Ranee, and Sanjay Singh Badnor. Rajasthan, a Romantic Odyssey. New Delhi: Printo India Publishers, 2005.
  4. Monk, Mauger Fitzhugh, and Ganesh Saili. Letters of a Mussoorie Merchant. New Delhi: Niyogi Books, 2012.
  5. Kumar, Pradyumna, and Butalia, Urvashi. How the Firefly Got Its Light. Mapin, 2012.
  6. Bharati Debi, and Anshu Prokash Nandan. Indigenous Knowledge. Kolkata: Anthropological Survey of India, Ministry of Culture, Govt. of India, 2011.
  7. Malhotra, Anu. Soul Survivors: Apa Tani, Konyak, Tibetan Nomads. New Delhi: AIM Television, 2011.
  8. Sunderlal Bahuguna. The Road to Survival. Kozhikode: Mathrubhumi Books, 2009.
  9. Shrivastava, Aseem, and Ashish Kothari. Churning the Earth: The Making of Global India. New Delhi: Penguin, 2012.
  10. Noorani, Abdul Gafoor Abdul Majeed. Islam, South Asia, and the Cold War. New Delhi: Tulika Books, 2012.
  11. Gonsalves, Peter. Khadi: Gandhi's Mega Symbol of Subversion. Thousand Oaks, Calif: SAGE Publications, 2012.
  12. Hasan, Mushirul. Writing India: Colonial Ethnography in the Nineteenth Century. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012.
  13. Green, Nile. Making Space: Sufis and Settlers in Early Modern India. New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2012.
  14. Kolaskar, A. S. , and Motilal Dash. Women and Society: The Road to Change. New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2012.
  15. Cittiralēkā, Mau, and Sarala Emmanuel. Penkalin Nilam: A Study on Women's Land Rights in the Post-Tsunami Resettlement Process in Batticaloa. Batticaloa: Suriya Women's Development Centre, 2010.
  16. Banerjee, Paula, and Anasua Basu Ray Chaudhury. Women in Indian Borderlands. New Delhi: SAGE, 2011.
  17. Herath, Tamara. Women in Terrorism: Case of the LTTE. New Delhi: SAGE Publications, 2012.
  18. National Seminar "Swadesh Samaj, Rabindranath Tagore and the Nation", Swati Ganguly, and Abhijit Sena. Rabindranath Tagore and the Nation: Essays in Politics, Society and Culture. Kolkata: Punascha in association with Visva-Bharati, 2011.
  19. Premacanda, and Rakhshanda Jalil. The Temple and the Mosque: The Best of Premchand. New York: Harper Perennial, 2011.
  20. Afz̤āl Ḥusain. Mīr kī shiʻrī lisāniyāt. Dihlī: ʻArshiyah Pablīkeshanz, 2010. (Urdu)
  21. Mahakavi Kalidasa aura unaka mahakavya-silpa. Nai Dilli: Ayushmana Pablikesana Hausa, 2012. (Hindi)
  22. Kālidāsa, Jagadīśa Śarmā, Prabhunātha Dvivedī, and Mallinātha. Meghadūtam. Ujjayinī: Kālidāsa Saṃskr̥ta Akādamī, 2009. (Sanskrit)
  23.  Panjiar, Prashant, and Sanjeev Saith. Pan India, a Shared Habitat. 2012.  
  24. One Hundred Vintage Views of India. New Delhi: Tasveer & Bernard J Shapero Rare Books in association with Ganjam, 2011. 

Monday, May 6, 2013

Sanskrit Buddhist Manuscripts on microfiche

This library material,  titled the Sanskrit Buddhist Manuscripts, appears to be a very rich set of texts on microfiche, which other libraries and scholars have begun to request copies of some of the 495 titles though InterLibrary Servies.  That raises several questions for our library.

These microfiche were gifted or donated to the University of Virginia about 5 years ago. Our main concern is that these microfiche may be unique (the only holder of them in the world as far as we know?), and we are reluctant to lend them without retaining a copy for ourselves. We are in discussions and are investigating how to best manage these materials, especially if we are going to lend them to others.

What is this set?  There is a 1975 catalog of these, which lists 495 separate Sanskrit titles in the set. OUr VIRGO listing indicates there are 1206 microfiche, each microfiche may contain 24 images (x 1206 = about 29,000 images).  We have searched for an institution or company which makes copies of microfiche. There seem to be plenty of companies  around which do microfilm duplication, but few that do microfiche duplication..  But, we may have recently found one which may do this - and at the same time they would also make digital image copies of the texts.  They are estimating the cost.

Still, there are a concerns about copyright and lending / sending digital copies or microfiche to others.  There is no information in the 1975 catalog as to how and when these were microfiched in 1975 or before.

Below are some images of the microfiche, with samples of scans at the end.

 1. Four boxes of microfiche on the left, with the List title, and print outs of scanned individual title and a text page on the right.

 2. Left the cover of the list of Titles, and right top a scanned title page, 
and right bottom a scanned text page.

 3. The four boxes with the microfiche.

 4. The four boxes opened up to display the microfiche
5. The first box and the last box

6. Sample microfiche from the first and last microfiche sets, which have two microfiche.  The bottom is the first fiche of the title and is filled with the 24 frames.The upper fiche is the second of a title and shows empty frames.
 7. Samples. This is an identification first frame and a title scanned from the microfiche.

8. Samples. Scans of the beginning text frame on the left and the end text frame on the right.

Does anyone else have any comments or questions? - if so, please write to me at

Trying a Google search for"Sanskrit Buddhist Manuscripts" one gets several hits.  Are these the same texts as we have at the University of Virginia, but held at other institutions, especially in Nepal?
See, for example, these two links