Endangered Archives

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EAP781: Santipur and its neighbourhood: text and image production history from early modern Bengal through public and private collections. Major project

This project continues the earlier pilot project EAP643. The district of Nadia in India has a long history of urban settlements since at least the 11th century: Nabadwip was the capital of of the Sena dynasty during the 11th and 12th century, and also the birth place of Shri Chaitanyadeva, founder of the Vaishnav religion. Santipur has a long medieval cultural history and was the cultural hub of Bengal before the intellectual focus shifted to Calcutta: the Rashotsav is a Vaishnvait festival famous since the 15th century and Santipur is also well-known for a special traditional handloom and community of weavers. Krishnanagar was a small Hindu kingdom under the Nababs of Murshidabad, from the 17th to 18th century. All three settlements were once places of traditional Indian learning with schools for Sanskrit learning and teaching.

This project will document the sources of history writing in the area, based on the survey findings of pilot project EAP643, and will digitise approximately 370 printed books; 500 paintings and photographs of Lalit Mohan Sen; resolution books, annual reports, colonial maps and town planning reports from the record room of the Santipur Municipality; and 2,000 manuscripts in Bengali and Sanskrit languages on palm-leaf, birch bark and paper. These are held in institutional and private collections in Santipur and the nearby village of Phulia. The core project team consists of the Principle Investigator, Mr Abhijit Bhattacharya, and Dr Rajarshi Ghose as the Co-investigator, responsible for most of the academic input into the project.

The digital copies will be deposited with the Archives of the Centre for Studies in Social Sciences Calcutta and with the British Library.

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EAP781/1: Santipur and its neighbourhood: text and image production history from early modern Bengal through public and private collections [8th century-18th century]

"The project is a digitisation programme of all available rare books from the earliest time untill 1950s and in Bengali language housed in selected libraries. Once the project is over the materials will be available to scholars both in-house and through online access. The original materials are located in local libraries established between 1856 and 1990; also in private collection of Mr. Prabartak Sen (the images) in his private residence. The public libraries and institutions mostly received these collections from several sources as gifts, however, for lack of maintenance of record the original source is not known. The project is an outcome of the survey completed under project EAP643 carried out by the Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta and fully funded by the Endangered Archives Programme of the British Library. All materials stored in public institutions and private collections for several decades exposed to tropical heat dust and moisture and as a result almost 80 percent of materials digitised as part of the project are not in usable condition. 1343 Manuscript, 371 printed books and 135 bound volumes of periodical, 510 images."

EAP781/1/1: Collection of manuscripts digitised from Santipur Bangiya Puran Parishad [8th century-18th century]

EAP781/1/1/115: Śabdamālā [14th century]

Extent: 122 TIFF Images
Level: File
Scope and Content: "It is a glossary of words, culled from Śabdārṇava and some other ancient works. Extent and format of original and physical characteristics: 60 Folios; Complete MS.; Extremely fragile. The original size of the folios are 41X14 cm. Author: Rāmeśvara. Date of original material: before 14th century. The place of composition of this manuscript is Bengal"
Language(s) Sanskrit
Script(s) Bengali
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