SCRIBE FOR MANUSCRIPTS

          The scribe is a professional copyist who copies a manuscript or document for others. He is sometimes confused with the author. Lipikara, Lipikāra, Lekhaka are the Sanskrit terms for scribe. Official scribes were also there in the past. They were called as Karaṇika, Kāyastha, Rājalekhaka and Rājalipikara. The keeper of records were called as Akṣapāṭalika. Kauṭalya describes the qualification of a scribe.

          अमात्यसम्पदोपेतः सर्वसमयवित्, आशुग्रन्थः चार्वक्षरः लेखनवाचनसमर्थः लेखकः स्यात्।

      The one who is blessed with the qualities of a minister, knower of all doctrines, quick grasper, very good in reading and writing and has a good handwriting is a scribe.

          Mostly the name of the scribe will be mentioned at the end of the text including the date, patron and other details. At last his prayer to the reader to protect the manuscript will be written.

          A scribe is expected to be a honest one than a scholar one. The scribal errors are divided into two viz intentionally made and non-intentionally made. The intentionally made mistakes happen only because of the half-scholarship of the scribes.

          Sometimes the correction made by scribes are praise-worthy. The circles (Kuṇḍalas) made by them on the doubted portion helps the editor for the better reading. Kṣemendra makes a fun of bad scribes too.

          अकारशीर्षहारी नवदरकारी पदार्थसंहारी

      अक्षरभक्षकमेलालिप्तमुखो लेखकः कालः।।

      The scribe is a Kāla, who omits the vowel signs, makes new holes, destroys the meaning and whose mouth is full of ink while swallowing the letters.

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