ManuscriptsThe First Dastoor Meherjirana Library is home to one of the most important collections of manuscripts relating to the Zoroastrian religion in the world. The library's oldest manuscript, an Avestan manuscript written in Iran of the Vištāsp Yašt (G-18), dates to the year 693 AY/1323 AD. The manuscript collection of the First Dastoor Meherjirana Library was donated by a number of different people. Many of the original donations of manuscripts came from the Meherjirana family itself, principally from Dasturs Jamsetji Sorabji and Framji Sorabji Meherjirana, Rustomji Kekobadji Meherjirana, and Edalji Navroji Meherjirana. The greatest number of manuscripts was donated by Dastur Erachji Sorabji Meherjirana (1826-1900), who had served as the librarian of the Mulla Feroze Library in Bombay and who copied more than seventy-five of the manuscripts in the library in his own hand. Later manuscript donations to the First Dastoor Meherjirana Library have come from several sources. Extensive collections from Jamshedji Maneckji Unvala and Meherji Navroji Kutar were both been generously given to the library sometime after Dhabhar’s 1923 Catalogue was published. More recent donations have come from various families in Navsari, as well as manuscripts from the collection of Dastur Firoze M. Kotwal. It is hoped that the library’s collection will continue to be enriched in the years to come.
The manuscripts of the library are described in two catalogues. In 1923, Ervad Bamanji Nasarvanji Dhabhar was commissioned by the Library Committee to catalogue all the library's manuscript collections, which at the time amounted to 469 MSS. Since 1923, a number of generous donations from private individuals have greatly enriched the manuscript collections of the library. The work of cataloguing these manuscripts was begun some years ago by Dastur Dr. Firoze Kotwal, to whom the credit of identifying most of the texts is due. In November 2008, Dan Sheffield made further identifications, reassembled those manuscripts which had become disordered, and, with the constant assistance of the Librarian, Mrs. Bharti Gandhi, prepared a preliminary descriptive list of 157 manuscripts that the library has received in the last 85 years.
Download (4.8 MB) - Dhabhar, Bamanji Nasarvanji. 1923. Descriptive Catalogue of All Manuscripts in the First Dastur Meherji Rana Library, Navsari.
Download (3.1 MB) - Kotwal, Firoze, Daniel Sheffield, & Bharti Gandhi. 2008–2013. Preliminary Descriptive List of the Manuscripts Donated to the First Dastur Meherjirana Library since 1923.
Collections of printed books
The First Dastoor Meherjirana Library is one of the world's foremost research institutions for the Zoroastrian religion, containing printed books on Zoroastrianism and Oriental Studies in Western languages, as well as Gujarati and Persian, ranging from the 18th century to the present day. Some of the rare and important books in the library's collection range from 19th century illustrated & lithographed Shāhnāmas and the complete 10 volumes of the Parsi Prakash to the more recent publication of A Zoroastrian Tapestry.
The library's complete collection, which is constantly enriched with new acquisitions and donations, amounts to ca. 50,000 books. In addition to housing rare manuscripts, the library also functions as a lending library to the local Navsari community. Books of a more general interest include books on philosophy, psychology, astronomy, medicine & anatomy, astrology, etc. The library has extensive collections of classic and contemporary fiction in English, Gujarati and Hindi. The library caters to school and college going students by providing them access to encyclopedias, dictionaries, publications of academic interest, and internet facilities for research. The library also subscribes to a number of newspapers and magazines for the general reading public.
Historic Catalogues (please note that these catalogues are made available for scholarly interest only):
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