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

Nadia district has a long urban history stemming from the 11th century. Its settlement were places of traditional learning before the advent of European education. The documents relating to this era are held in remote places, with poor access and increasingly in danger of disappearing.

The district of Nadia in India has a long history of urban settlements since at least the 11th century: Nabadwip was the capital of the Sena dynasty during the 11th and 12th century, and also the birthplace 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. 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. Though almost all manuscripts, books and records have disappeared with advent of European education, some are still available in few private collections.

The materials are kept in remote areas, and are not accessible by scholars. The lack of interest in preserving the material put it at great risk.

Building on pilot survey project in 2014, the major project digitised 1,265 manuscripts, 78 official records, 584 books and 510 paintings and prints. The project included staff, volunteers and members of local institutions, all of whom were trained. Staff and volunteers at Santipur Bangiya Puran Parishad were given basic conservation training.

Project Details

Location: India, Southern Asia, Asia Organiser(s): Endangered Archives Programme (EAP) Project partner(s): Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta Funder(s): Arcadia Funding received: £33,890 Commencement Date: 11/2014 Project Status: Completed
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