The government is planning to launch a program to conserve the ancient Ola leaf (palm leaf) manuscripts.
The Minister of Cultural Affairs and Arts T.B. Ekanayake says that a number of measures have been taken to preserve part of the country's historical heritage.
Addressing an arts festival in Kandy, the Minister has noted that in a number of temples the palm leaf manuscripts are hung and covered with robes as there are no proper places to store them. The manuscripts of historical significance are not stored properly due to lack of resources, he added.
He said the Ministry initiated a survey in Kurunegala, Matale and Gampaha districts to determine the number of ola leaf manuscripts that need to be preserved.
The Minister announced that archaeological degree graduates conversant in the language will be assigned to computerize the content for the use of future generations. Measures have been taken to make wooden almirahs with traditional carvings to keep the palm leaf manuscripts, he added.
The palm leaf manuscripts, which deteriorate rapidly due to environmental factors such as humidity, reveal a large amount of information regarding ancient history, Buddhism, indigenous medicine, ancient technology, astrology, language and literature and social and economic status.
The Ministry Culture and Arts is also considering to disseminate the technical know-how of producing palm leaf manuscripts and to redefine its potential uses in the contemporary society as a way to safeguard and revitalize the ancient tradition.