A hidden, tiny and extremely important part of India’s modern history will soon be revealed to the world once the translation of the Gunjala Gondi manuscripts is completed within the next week. The manuscripts, written in the extinct Gondi script, subsequently named the Gunjala Gondi script, were discovered in the sleepy village of Narnoor mandal in Adilabad district in 2011, leading to a whole range of possibilities, especially in historical research.
The Centre for Dalit and Adivasi Studies and Translation (CDAST) of the University of Hyderabad, with Professor V. Krishna as its coordinator, has undertaken translation of ten manuscripts which talk of the history of the Gond Kingdom of Chandrapur (in present day Maharashtra), besides depicting Gondi culture in the form of the Ramayana.
A team from CDAST is currently translating the manuscripts dating back to 1750 at Gunjala with the help of Gondi pandits.
The manuscripts will be translated into Hindi and Telugu for the benefit of the Gond community spread across six States, as well as non-Gonds. Meanwhile, the font for the Gunjala Gondi script has already been finalised.
“The manuscripts talk about the freedom struggle of the Chandrapur Gond Kings who fought against the British, and the history of the Pardhan tribe which has an intrinsic and inseparable connection with the Gonds. One of the episodes relate to the rebellion of the legendary Ramji Gond who fought the British at Nirmal town in Adilabad district with the help of Rohillas,” said Professor Jayadheer Tirumal Rao, visiting Professor at CDAST, who was instrumental in bringing to light the discovery.
Important aspects highlighted
One of the important aspects in the life of Gond Kings highlighted in the manuscripts was their relationship with Myanmar (then known as Burma). The relationship was forged by people from the Pardhan community in the 6th or 7th Century CE.
“There is a record of the origins of the famous Nagoba Jatara at Keslapur in Indervelli mandal which is an important chapter in the history of Gondwana. The translation will also help us understand the relation between different communities in those times,” Mr. Rao added.