Taking a leaf from Jantri for traditional medicament- an ancient manuscript in Tankri

Rana, Dipika ; Bhatt, Anupam ; Lal, Brij ; Uniyal, Sanjay Kr.

Abstract

The present paper highlights the importance vis-à-vis plight of a traditional script Tankri of Chamba, Himachal Pradesh. Through surveys in 70 villages that involved interviews with 550 residents, only one respondent was found to be versed in it. He uses an ancient manuscript named Jantri, scripted in Tankri, for prescribing medicines. Interactions and literature review revealed that Tankri was once a princely script of Chamba that now has no takers. Tankri originated from the Brahmic family of scripts and the Jantri holds information on uses of natural resources for curing human and animal related ailments. A total of 32 resources that include 24 of plant origin, 3 of animal origin, and 5 minerals were used for making formulations to cure a total of 13 diseases. Writing amulets in Tankri on tree bark using traditional ink was found to be a characteristic of the region. Unfortunately, the script is fast disappearing and so is the knowledge associated with it. Its disappearance would be a great loss to mankind. It is high time that conservation and decoding of such scripts is prioritized. Developing a database of knowledge holders and digitizing the information recorded in Tankri may be the starting point of this.

Keyword(s)

Ailments; Chamba; Himalaya; Medicine; Script

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