পাতা:Vanga Sahitya Parichaya Part 1.djvu/১৩

এই পাতাটির মুদ্রণ সংশোধন করা হয়েছে, কিন্তু বৈধকরণ করা হয়নি।
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INTRODUCTION.

purposely avoided dwelling upon all unpublished works, however high merits some of them might possess."

The Asiatic Society of Bengal was at the time making vigorous search for old Sanskrit manuscripts; Search for Bengali MSS. but no attempt was made to recover ancient Bengali MSS. till 1878, when Sir George Grierson published the ballads of King Mānikchandra in the Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal in Deva Nāgri characters with notes and an English translation. In 1892 the Peace Association of Calcutta announced a prize for the best essay on the origin and growth of the Bengali Language. While engaged in writing an essay for this competition, I happened by chance to come across an ancient manuscript of the poem Mrigalubdha by the poet Rati Deva of Chakrashālā in Chittagong, and on further enquiries I learned from reliable sources that many such ancient books, mostly ill-preserved, were to be found throughout the villages of Eastern Bengal buried away in the houses of the rustics. As I found it impossible to collect these valuable works unaided, I applied to Dr. Hœrnle for advice in the matter. He instructed Mahāmahopādhyāya Haraprasād Shāstrī to render me all possible assistance from the Asiatic Society of Bengal in my search for manuscripts. Accordingly Pandit Binodbihari Kāvyatīrtha of that Society was appointed to assist me, and he came to Tippera for this purpose in 1893. By the year 1894 I was in possession of quite an unexpected treasure of old MSS. collected from various parts of Bengal—mostly from Eastern Bengal. The existence of these was absolutely unknown to the educated people of the present generation. Gradually an increasing number of such MSS. was discovered, and after the publication of my History of the Bengali Language and Literature in Bengali in the year 1896, a lively interest was taken by the educated community in the subject and vigorous measures were adopted to recover these precious works. It became clear to all that unless the contents of these ill-preserved MSS. could be saved by means of printing them, the bulk of such valuable materials must be ultimately lost. Mahāmahopādhyāya Haraprasād Shāstrī collected on behalf of the Asiatic Society nearly 800 of them and about an equal number is now in possession of the Sāhitya Pariṣat of Calcutta. Munsi Abdul Karim of Chittagong, Babus Shivaratan Mitra and Nilratan Mukherjee of Bīrbhum, Babus Haragopāl Kundu and Surendranārāyaṇ Roy of Rangpur, Babus Basantaranjan Roy and Haridās Pālit of Bankura, and Babu Akrurchandra Sen of Manikganj, Dacca, Babus Shivachandra Shīl and Hārādhana Datta of Hughli and Babu Achyutchandra Chaudhuri of Maina, Kānaibazar, Sylhet, have laboured hard in their search for old Bengali MSS. They have, I am afraid, received but little recognition for their disinterested labours. In at least two cases that