A letter from Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru three days before his death is among the first batch of personal correspondence V.R. Krishna Iyer, jurist, has donated to the Archives Department.

At a ceremony held in his home here on Thursday, Mr. Iyer handed over several letters he had received from prime ministers, governors, chief ministers and political and legal luminaries. These were received by K.N. Panikkar, historian and Vice-Chairman of the Higher Education Council, on behalf of the Archives Department.

Mr. Iyer said he had lost a large number of his personal correspondence over the years.

The rest would be handed over to the Archives Department. Other personal documents also would be given out. His books on law would be given to the Kerala High Court.

Mr. Panikkar said the letters and other personal documents represented the public mind of 20 {+t} {+h} century India and that they would be of great help to researchers. He said Mr. Iyer was a true ‘Bharat Ratna' living in our midst.

Dominic Presentation, MLA, presided over the ceremony.

Oral history

Archives Department director J. Reji Kumar told The Hindu that Mr. Krishna Iyer would be the first in a series of oral history recordings with prominent personalities in Kerala.

They would be available for use by researchers. As of now, his department held only government records. It had now decided to have private documents as well.

Rare museum

The department was now building a ‘signature archival museum' which would preserve signatures, handwritings and biodata of historical and contemporary personalities. Some of the material it had acquired included the signatures and handwritings of Swati Tirunal, the 19 {+t} {+h} century music composer and Maharaja of Travancore, and Sir C.P. Ramaswamy Aiyer, the Dewan of Travancore (1936-47).