THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A vast database of rare documents which will throw light on the chequered history of the state is set to be unveiled in a couple of weeks. The database, which includes over one lakh records ranging from palm-leaf manuscripts to colonial-era documents, has been compiled as part of community archives project of State Archives Department and the Kerala State Literacy Mission.
Literacy Mission director P S Sreekala said the documentation is over and the index will be handed over to the Archives Department in a couple of weeks. A history seminar will be held alongside. The documents were traced by Literacy Mission students during a three-month-long statewide survey which involved 50,000 households last year. “The survey report has the exact location of the document with contact details of the custodian. Some surveyors have reported objects of archaeological value,” she said.
“Nearly half of the findings are palm-leaf manuscrips on varied topics like Ayurveda, astrology, tantra and horoscopes. Rare books and copies of the first Malayalam journal ‘Rajyasamacharam’ edited by Hermann Gundert are among them,” said E V Anil, Literacy Mission project coordinator .
Other rare documents, include an Ayurveda book in Arabic, a palm-leaf manuscript bible, a century-old tantric text, bylaw and old posters of the KPAC, former Chief Minister E K Nayanar’s horoscope and rare photographs and letter of eminent personalities.
The Archives Department said it is awaiting a copy of the database to launch a mammoth conservation programme. “We will collect the records from owners who are willing to donate them. In the case of others, we will depute conservationists to preserve the documents at their respective locations. Also, awareness classes will be conducted for the custodians,” said P Biju, Archives Department assistant director. According to Biju, the community archives, a first-of-its-kind initiative in the country, will be of immense help to researchers and students from various streams.
ONE LAKH RECORDS
The database, which includes over one lakh records ranging from palm-leaf manuscripts to colonial-era documents, has been compiled as part of community archives project of State Archives Department and the Kerala State Literacy Mission. The documents were traced by Literacy Mission students during a three-month-long survey.