Security measures at Vidhana Soudha obscures importance of Archives

K.N. Venkatasubba Rao

The State Archives has collected, collated and preserved the most valuable documents

BANGALORE: The restricted entry to Vidhana Soudha and the inadequate infrastructure, staff and the funds crunch have obscured the importance of the State Archives, which has collected, collated and preserved the most valuable documents pertaining to historical, cultural and administrative aspects of the State spanning over three centuries.

The Archives that comes under the purview of the Department of Kannada and Culture was housed at the ground and the first floors of the western wing of the Vidhana Soudha.

Although the Archives Director’s office is still housed on the first floor, the administrative and the sales wing have been shifted to the first and the second floors of Vikasa Soudha.

The Government has provided some vaults for the Archives in its general record room situated on the ground floor of the Vikasa Soudha. A majority of records, both published and unpublished, of the Archives are said to have been dumped at a godown provided by Bangalore University on the Jnana Bharati campus.

In the absence of foolproof descriptive catalogues of the documents, it is a challenge to one’s sensibility to identify the number of documents on a particular subject and locate them.

However, it is heartening to note that the personnel of the Archives struggle in maintaining some order against odds.

Earlier, want of space and ambience had caused health hazards and prevented students, scholars and the public from utilising the rich material for their intellectual pursuit. It was also observed that air-conditioning the record room and providing a reference room adjacent to it would serve the purpose besides ensuring proper protection to the valuable documents.

Now there is no dearth of space but facilities that are in the interests of the people are ignored.

Barring some steps such as computerisation and digitalisation of documents initiated by the S.M. Krishna Government, not much head way has been made in that direction.

The Archives contains source material on various issues, including the history of Mysore, the establishment of the British Rule in Mysore, correspondence between Hyder Ali-Tipu Sultan and the French, the Indian National Congress’ attempts to oust the British from the Princely State of Mysore and the Unification Movement. Besides, Kannada-Marathi Modi records, and Gazettes from 1866 are available.

It has documented the services of various correspondences and other records under the heads such as agriculture (1836-1942), animal husbandry (1871-1902), banking (1871-1902), courts (1855-1925), Coorg district (1952-1955), Confidential Branch (1913-1943), Dewans’ correspondence (1899-1906), education (1851-1953), economic conferences (1917-1922), efficiency and general rules (1914-1923), excise (1918-1926), finance (1903-1942), forest (1836-1943).

General and miscellaneous (1836-1942), general finance (1845-1940), geological (1915-1942), government gardens (1926-1942), industries and commerce (1872-1946), local examinations (1877-1925), land survey (1860-1947), local boards (1837-1943), legislature (1904-1942), laws (1927-1942), municipal (1811-1945), muzrai (1846-1943), military (1840-1942), medical (1831-1942), press (1862-1925), palace papers (1867-1923), police (1832-1942), prisons (1859-1942), revenue department (1904-1924), road taxes (1936-1942), statistics (1864-1926) and sanitary (1862-1900).

Recommended for you