Centre for World Environmental History


Announcing a a Planning Grant from the Modern Endangered Archives Program (MEAP)

A UCLA Library granting programme funded by the Arcadia Fund

Principal Applicant: Dr Sangeeta Dasgupta

Co-applicant: Professor Vinita Damodaran

Notes, letters, diaries, posters and pamphlets: Narrating ideas of indigeneity in Jharkhand, India

One of the difficulties that one faces while writing indigenous or adivasis histories is the lack of archival records. In order to understand the histories of such under-documented communities, alternate kinds of records which reflect adivasi voices and their struggles for justice, dignity and rights need to be identified, organized, catalogued and digitized. The above project has been conceptualized to address this issue. It aims to assess, catalogue and partially digitize material, both visual and textual, that would help us understand the political and cultural constituents of the notion of indigeneity in Jharkhand, India.

The material that will be catalogued and eventually digitized includes collections of letters, diaries, minutes of important meetings, political pamphlets, locally printed journals, old magazines and copies of newsletters that are written in Hindi, English, Bengali, and in other tribal languages like Kurukh, Nagri and Mundari. This material is located in the private residences of adivasi leaders like Bishop Nirmal Minz and the late Dr Ram Dayal Munda. These papers, often crumbling, dusty and fragile, require urgent preservation and must be brought into the public domain for research and reference.

In addition to submitting a copy of the digital material to the UCLA Library-hosted website,copies of the digital material will be given to each of the individuals in Ranchi who are partners of this programme. Besides, a copy will be kept at Jawaharlal Nehru University, where Dr Sangeeta Dasgupta teaches, and at the Centre for World Environmental History, University of Sussex, where she is Senior Research Associate, and where Professor Vinita Damodaran, the co-applicant for this project, is Director. Upon completion of work on the Planning Grant, a workshop and an exhibition will be organized at the Centre for Historical Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, and at the Centre for World Environmental History, University of Sussex, to talk about the uniqueness of these collections.

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By: Martin Wingfield
Last updated: Monday, 27 January 2020