Aurel Stein
  The Sanskritist
  Manuscript Treasures
  Kashmiri Scholarship
  Interface of Scholarship
  The Adopted Home
  Unfinished Tasks
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Supported by:
  Heritage Lottery Fund, Cambridge.
  Bodelian Library, Oxford.
  Nityanand Shastri Library Collection, Delhi.
  Kashmir Bhavan Centre, Luton.
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The Royal Jammu Catalogue
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Maharaja Pratap Singh

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Ariel view of Raghunath Temple, Jammu

A week after leaving Srinagar in August 1888, and leaving his Pandit friends, Aurel Stein arrived at Jammu. He carried the letters of recommendations by the Resident, Mr. W.F. Prideaux and State Secretary for Maharaja Pratap Singh for an access to private library of Sanskrit manuscripts of late Maharaja, Ranbir Singh in Raghunath Temple, Jammu.

Stein’s acquaintance to this collection of manuscripts in the Dogra capital had been drawn from Professor Buhler’s reference to it. The letters of recommendations had desired effect.

The kind reception accorded to Stein by the Maharaja and courteous services of several high officials secured access to Raghunath Temple in which Sanskrit manuscripts collected by late Maharaja Ranbir Singh had been deposited.

The rapid survey Stein was able to make during his short stay at Jammu sufficed to convenience him to a great extent importance of Jammu collection and liberal feelings of Maharaja Partap Singh gave him reasons to hope that a proposal to make it accessible for research would be received in an enlightened spirit by the Maharaja. In the following year ready support by the new Resident, Mr. R. Parrey Nisbet, enabled him to take practical steps in this direction by submitting a plan for preparation of a systematic catalogue of manuscripts. On his recommendations, the State Council by a resolution dated October 19, 1889, approved this plan and entrusted Stein the work. However, Stein encountered a difficulty to begin the task. The entire collection of the manuscripts was lying in a dingy place inside the Temple complex which was identified by the term 'Sarad Khana' and was unfit for human occupation. In order to overcome the difficulty Stein took up the matter with the then Governor of Jammu, Pandit Radhakrishen, suggesting that the collection of manuscripts be shifted to a separate room constructed on a new plinth or some existing vacant rooms which however required to be shaded in order to prevent heat of the afternoon sun.

With the problem solved through the Governor’s intervention in arranging for execution of the task, Stein recommended to the State Council requisition of two Kashmiri Pandit scholars of whose knowledge and scholarly qualifications he had personally occasion to form high opinion while working on Kalhana’s Rajatarangini. These persons were Pandit Govind Koul and Pandit Sahajabhatta of Srinagar. The Darbar agreed for their remuneration. Pandit Govind was appointed at 75 rupees per month and Pandit Sahajabhatta at rupees 50 per month. Both these scholars had a systemic knowledge of methods of collecting and copying the manuscripts according to Western standards of philological accuracy. The task was entrusted to them for preparing the catalogue at Jammu. For this purpose services of six copyists were also placed at their disposal.

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