Fragments of Sikkim: preserving and presenting the palace archives of a Himalayan Kingdom, 1875-1975

This project preserved, digitised and made available to academic enquiry the hitherto neglected royal archives of the former Himalayan Buddhist kingdom of Sikkim, which merged with India in 1975. The collection dates from 1892 to 1986 and includes documents in English, Nepali, Tibetan and Hindi.

The vast majority of the material relates to a historical period in which Sikkim was a traditional Buddhist kingdom, albeit that its foreign relations were under the control of British India. The material is from the office of the royal secretary and includes documentation of events and processes—both state and private—from the pre-colonial, colonial, and post-colonial periods down to the merger with India. The documents are associated with topics such as history, political affairs, law and legal codes, international relations, border disputes, taxation, and domestic affairs. They include personal, family, and official correspondence on all sorts of matters; records of disputes, discussions on policy, legal developments; State Council meeting minutes; and quotidian accounts as well as state revenue, land-holding and taxation ledgers. The project digitised 1,055 folders of documents, which has produced at least 89,321 digital images. The endangered archival material is now housed in a secure room in Gangtok, Sikkim (India).

Project Details

Location: India, Southern Asia, Asia Organiser(s): Endangered Archives Programme (EAP) Project partner(s): Independent Researcher Funder(s): Arcadia Funding received: £41,978 Commencement Date: 09/2016 Project Status: Completed
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