It is not long ago that Modi script was quite frequently used. However, as late as the 1950s the Devanagari script replaced Modi as the officially sanctioned script for Marathi, and the use of Modi nosedived since then. Now, paying huge attention to the loss of Modi script and its role in studying Maratha Empire’s history, Savitribai Phule Pune University, formerly University of Pune and University of Poona, has decided to start an independent ‘Maratha kingdom’ study and research center.
Quite interestingly, if someone wants to do research on Maratha Empire he must know Modi script as it was the lifeblood of the vast empire in India. There are huge collections of Maratha manuscripts in Saraswathi Mahal library in Thanjavur or the Peshwa Daftar in Pune or Gwalior Museum or the Maratha museum; however, if the researchers do not know Modi script, it would not help them any bit.
The university says that through the research center a detailed study of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and other Maratha kings will be undertaken to extensive levels. There is not much material available vis-à-vis Maratha Empire as most of the record is in Modi script. SPPU vice-chancellor Nitin Karmalkar is of the view that there is a need for an extensive study about the Maratha kingdom, the kings who ruled Maharashtra and all other aspects of the kingdom.
He was quoted saying that there are thousands of documents in ‘Modi lipi’ which are still untouched and not yet read. According to him to study and research in-depth about Maratha kingdom this centre has now been started by the university.
Bringing Modi Script to Relevance
Interestingly enough if we look at the history for more than 200 years, the Maratha kings after Shivaji Maharaj have ruled, there are enormous documents available in Modi script. In fact, there are five crore Modi lipi documents available about this glorious history of Marathas. However, the most unfortunate thing that has happened to the script is that there are not many people who can read and write the script in professional manner. With the new centre for its study and research is an important step.
The fundamental goal of setting up of the research center is that this will help in unfolding the data of Modi script, which researchers really feel is the necessity of the hour as solely a handful of students research the format. Nonetheless, the new step would encourage the research of Modi script, throwing up many extra mysteries from the Maratha period.
Notwithstanding what Pune archives have no less than 5 crore papers written in Modi script and if these are translated in other languages, there would be rich documentation on Maratha history.
Modi Script Translation to Help Know Maratha Record Well
Since there is shortage of specialists who can translate Modi script on other languages, there are a lot of issues for historians, journalists, academic researchers, etc. amongst others. For now the university says that it has began educating the script for nearly 200 college students who would graduate and then become a great help as they would then be able to provide Modi script translation services. The happiest people would be the historians as according to them this would help them in their research work.
Needless to say the Pune University’s decision to set up the center to research and study Modi script would help a lot in the sense that there is huge demand among people to know how and what the Maratha empire did for the nation. It was one of the biggest empires that ruled the nation for nearly 200 years and there is obvious curiosity.
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