Jump to content

Digitalizing Punjabi Manuscripts (Phase I)

From Meta, a Wikimedia project coordination wiki

For second phase, see Digitalizing Punjabi Manuscripts (Phase II).

Digitalizing Punjabi Manuscripts (Phase I) is a pilot project by Punjabi Wikimedians that focuses on digitalization of rare and prestigious historical Sikh Manuscripts available in village Bhai Rupa, Punjab. This project will help integrating these sources with Wikimedia projects such as Wikicommons, Wikisource, Wikipedia and Wikidata. These manuscripts will be scanned uploaded on Wikicommons and Wikisource. This project has been initiated as a young sikh research scholar approached Punjabi Community to ask help for this project.

Event details

  • Community discussion : village pump discussion
  • Start date of preparation: 9 July 2022
  • Start date of project: 16 July 2022
  • End date of project: 15 September 2022
  • End date of completion of the entire endeavor: 30 September 2022


  • Gaurav Jhammat - Project coordinator (also will do scanning work)
  • Simar Singh - Researcher and advisor
  • Jugraj Singh - volunteer from punjabi community

Funding Details

  • Funding Agency : CIS-A2K
  • Initial Ask : 43000 INR
  • Amount Received : 20,000 INR
  • Final Amount Spend : 19,099 INR

Estimated Budget (While planning the event)

Sr. No. Activity Cost (In INR) Remarks
1 Scanning Manuscripts 5000 Rs. 5 per page
2 Travel and Accommodation 12000 3000 per visit (estimated)
3 Food 8000 2000 per visit (estimated)
4 Safety Equipment 3000 Chemical required during scanning for safety of manuscripts
5 Community Engagement 10000 One day meetup about its report to community
6 Miscellanous 5000 If we get more manuscripts and vacant time, we will scan more pages.
Total 43000 INR

Report and Analysis


First visit


First visit was held on 16 july 2022. We had bought safety equipment like brushes and cleaning chemicals already before our first visit. Advisor Simar Singh, One volunteer from Punjabi Community Jugraj Singh also joined me in this visit. We scanned three full manuscripts which were : Gurbilas Patshahi Chhevi, Sakhi Bhai Ajitha and Japuji Sahib. We reached the venue at around 10 and we started scanning around 11. We finished our work in the evening around 6. After this, we informed CIS-A2K too about this visit.

Second Visit


It was held on 24 July 2022. It was a local visit. We planned to scan an old manuscript named ‘Aadi Granth Sahib’. It was placed on a fixed stand. We started scanning with delay because of some technical reasons. We started scanning after 2 P.M. and finished almost 1100+ pages till 8 P.M. in the evening.

Post-Scanning Work


After doing both visits, we got 20,000 INR from CIS-A2K which was sufficient for our event's main expenses and we also achieved our target number in these two visits. So after that, I started editing scanned photographs and cropped them because we couldn't touch manuscripts as they were old and holy texts and every image had a lot of unwanted material like cloth in its frame. After that, I compiled them into one pdf. Its black and white format. If the community needs original images in the process of wikisource, I can provide them too. I have uploaded these pdfs on Wikimedia Commons which can be seen on these links:

  1. Aadi Guru Granth Sahib (1152 pages)
  2. Japuji Sahib (440 pages)
  3. Gurbani Holy Text (might known as 'Gurbilas Patshahi Chhevi') (701 pages)
  4. Punjabi Manuscript (Sakhi Bhai Ajitha) (193 pages)

Two of manucripts had more than one names according to local and on the spot experts, so i did not know what to do with its name while uploading on Commons. I discussed this issue in my community meeting twice, one after the second visit and one after the post editing work. In the end, i contacted Jayanta who helped me about it. So CIS-A2K not only helped in this project by funding, but they gave us advisory support too.

Challenges which we faced during this project


We were a fresh team so we didn't know how much time this project would consume for scanning. So we planned initially 3 or 3 visits but we achieved our target of scanning 1000 pages and 1000 extra if possible in just two visits. It was a new task for us and scanning old manuscripts is really a hard task. So here i am pointing some challenges we faced while doing this project:

  1. These were very rare and sensitive. Pages were so weak and torn. They were highly sensitive even for bare hand touch.
  2. Two manuscripts were big in size. So it was handled to put all frames in one scanning flash. Before every flash, we have to move the manuscript left or right side.
  3. Pages were rough and very dusted. A lot of time is wasted in cleaning them. And even cleaning them was not so simple. It needs art brushes so we can gently clean them.
  4. Two manuscripts, we are not sure about their exact correct name. To identify them and their correct name, we need a proper language expert.
  5. Also, in the process of wikisource proofreading, we also need language experts. So we did not do that work on wikisource. We only uploaded the manuscripts on wikimedia commons.
  6. Ink or written text on Some pages has disappeared. It may be shown by using some special liquid. So when we see a blank page or portion, it might happen that there could be some text written in that blank space or page.

Final Budget

Time Sr. No. Category Description Expenditure (In INR)
Pre-event 1 Safety Equipments Brushes 122 INR
Chemical 531 INR
Gloves 200 INR
First Visit 2 Breakfast 241 INR
3 Travel Charges Patiala to Bathinda (Village Bhai Rupa) 4400 INR
4 Scanning Charges Gurnbani Holy Text (701 pages) 3505 INR
Japuji Sahib (440 pages) 2200 INR
Punjabi Manuscript (193 pages) 965 INR
Second Visit 5 Travel Charges Petrol Refill 250 INR
6 Scanning Charges Aadi Granth Sahib (1152 pages) 5760 INR
7 Dinner 925 INR
Total 19,099 INR