Kerala

Old Dutch is in demand with the history council

A history of the late medieval west coast of India will emerge with greater clarity and certainty from historical documents generated during the Dutch rule.  

The Kerala Council for Historical Research (KCHR) is hoping to build a pool of scholars with knowledge of Old Dutch, the language of the Dutch East India Company, so as to get a better grasp of the history of the west coast from Surat in Gujarat through Konkan and Kerala.

Only a few scholars understand Old Dutch even in the Netherlands. The situation is grimmer in India, and the KCHR wants to build a team of scholars who will decipher the thousands of files generated during the days the Dutch ruled parts of India.

In the archives

These files, sources said, were of great significance in understanding the past because they were prepared with elaborate observation and contained a lot of details of the day. The old files are available in great numbers in the archives in India and the Netherlands.

A history of the late medieval west coast of India will emerge with greater clarity and certainty from these historical documents. The KCHR has proposed a collaboration with the prestigious Leiden University in the Netherlands to provide opportunity to six students from India to do a masters in colonial history. Six students from the Netherlands too will be part of the programme.

Seven-year plan

The course will cover, among others, epigraphy and palaeography, to enable the students unravel the mysteries of the past. Old Dutch too will be part of the curriculum. The programme is being envisaged over a period of seven years and Leiden University and the KCHR will share resources to support it. Most of the programme will be conducted in Leiden University, and a part is being proposed to be held on the Pattanam KCHR campus near Kochi.

The programme is awaiting clearance from the Union government.

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Printable version | Apr 19, 2021 9:31:59 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/old-dutch-is-in-demand-with-the-history-council/article34008554.ece

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