National Archives of India Library

a. Introduction

The National Archives of India was set up in 1891 at Calcutta as the Imperial Record Department to act as the Central Record Office of the Government of India. At the time of its establishment, it was felt that a Central Library may also be set up as an adjunct of the Imperial Record Department and also act as the apex body to different Departmental Libraries. The proposal was accepted and a large number of Books. Periodicals and other government publications were transferred to the Central Library from various offices However in 1903, an Imperial Library (later redesignated National Library) was set up and most of the holdings of the Central Library were transferred to it, leaving behind duplicate copies.The Central Library which hereafter functioned as a “Spare Copy Room”, became the Library of the Imperial Record Department.

Following the decision to transfer the Imperial Record Department to Delhi, the books and publications in the Central Library were sorted out and classified into three groups viz: (i) those to be transferred to the Imperial Record Department in New Delhi, (ii) those to be transferred to the Imperial Secretariat Library (later Central Secretariat Library), and (iii) those which were to be disposed off. Accordingly, transfer of the material to the Imperial Record Department was completed in 1937 and the Library settled down in its new home.

Over the years, the the Library has developed into a rich research oriented Library providing a wide range of services to scholars, trainees, government agencies, and other interested users. It presently has in its custody over 1,70,000 publications comprising Rare books, Reports, Parliamentary Papers and Debates,Monographs, Gazettes, Gazetteers,Travelogues, Native Newspapers, Journals etc which constitute a most valuable supplementary source of information to the material contained among official records. These publications cover a variety of subjects like modern history and politics, culture, demography, archives, economics, social science, gender studies, tribal studies etc. With the rapid strides being made in information technology, the Library is gearing itself to adopt modern technology to facilitate the task of scholars and make its services more user friendly.

b. Networking of Five Major Libraries

The Ministry of Culture has initiated action for networking of five major Libraries i.e.

Objectives

c. Access to Library

The National Archives of India Library is a Research/Reference Library, which caters to the needs of Ministries/ Departments, in connection with official work, bonafide Research Scholars, Trainees, Universities and other Institutions and individuals engaged in historical research.

The Library is open on all weekdays from 9.30 A.M. to 6.00 P.M. It remains closed on Saturdays, Sundays and Government holidays.

All material available in the Library is available for consultation only in the Reading Room of the Library.

       All users are requested to sign the Attendance Register on their arrival.

Each scholar is normally permitted to requisition upto four books at a time.

Requests for Xerox/photocopies may be made as per prescribed charges and rules upto 4.30 p.m. on all working days.(Reprographic Services)

Ministries/ Departments and other Government agencies desirous of obtaining Gazettes/ books from the Library on loan should send their requisitions through the Librarians or Departmental Heads as the case may be. In all other respects, the General Rules of the Library will apply.

Damaged books and publications in a bad state of preservation are not normally issued. The borrowers will be personally responsible for the custody and safe return of the books borrowed by them. A book lost or damaged in any way by a borrower shall have to replace the same or meet the cost of the book. The evaluation of the cost will rest with the Director General of Archives.

       Books should be returned to the Counter Staff by 5.00 p.m.

 

(xii). Major Holdings

Short introduction to some of these collections is as given here.

a. GAZETTES

 

b.  CENSUS OF INDIA REPORTS

The Census Reports (1871 onwards) are a valuable and basic source on demographic studies and contain data about the population, castes, tribes, occupation etc for the use of scholars and other users.(For list of India Census Reports and Provincial Census Reports please see Annexures II & III).

c. GAZETTEERS

Gazetteers are another valuable reference tool providing information about the people, their culture, customs, geographical, linguistic, ethnic data, etc. The Gazetteers in the Department are of three categories viz:

d. PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES

This Collection consists of recorded proceedings of the British Parliament, which includes Questions, Proceedings relating to India as well as White Papers,Reports of Parliamentary Committees,Reports of Commisioners,Trade and Tariff relating to India etc. Some of the important Volumes in the Collection are:

e. LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY DEBATES

This Series comprises the following Volumes:

f. PROVINCIAL LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL DEBATES

These volumes cover the following States:

g. SELECTIONS OF VERNACULAR NATIVE NEWSPAPERS

          These are abstracts or summaries of Vernacular Newspapers compiled by the erstwhile Home Department to enable the Government to keep itself informed about activities in various provinces and are a very useful source material relating to public opinion in various States on issues of general interest. Prior to Independence, these Selections were classified as confidential documents and were not meant for public access. Some of the major Reports in the Series are:-

         
(For complete list please see Annexure IV)

h. SELECTIONS FROM RECORDS

These volumes contain Selections from important activities and decisions of the British Government and were published for the information and use by the public. They provide useful information about the British administration in India. Notable volumes among the Selections are:

i. ALMANACS

Another valuable Collection are the Almanacs containing information on statistical accounts, astronomical data, events, civil and military appointments, rules and regulations about the Govt. of India etc. The four volume series comprises of the following:

j. COLLECTION OF TREATIES, ENGAGEMENTS AND SANADS RELATING TO INDIA AND NEIGHBOURING COUNTRIES

This Collection complied by C.U.Aitchison,Under Secretary to the Government of India, was published originally in 1909. The 14 volumes cover treaties with various states and countries including Punjab, Rajputana, Bundelkhand, Hyderabad, Madras, Jammu & Kashmir, Assam, Persia, Afghanistan, Nepal, Turkistan, Muscat, Baluchistan etc.

k. INDIA OFFICE LIST

Published in 1933, it is a comprehensive Directory compiled from the Civil Lists of the Government of India and includes service records of officers who served in India and Burma. It also has information about military officers, recipents of medals and awards, rates of pay, pensions, etc

l. CIVIL LIST

This is an exhaustive list containing information about the officers of the Indian Civil Service as well as the Indian Administrative Service from 1886.

m. INDIA ARMY LIST

This document provides the names, rank, postings and service details of Army officers who served in India. There are separate lists for Bombay Bengal and Madras, viz:

 n. EAST INDIA REGISTER AND DIRECTORY

These are useful documents containing information about the employees of the East India Company who served in the Civil, Military, Marine establishments, births, marriages and deaths in India, etc.

o. ANNUAL REGISTER- GREAT BRITAIN

These volumes covering the period (1877-1988) deal with the history, politics, literature and chronological events in England and other British colonies.

p. INDIAN ANNUAL REGISTER

These volumes deal with public activities, social, cultural, industrial, educational events concerning India during the period (1919-47)

q. TIMES OF INDIA DIRECTORY (1865-1983)

Another useful reference aid, it contains information about India’s population, commerce, trade, commercial organizations as well as biographical data of important persons.

r. THACKERS INDIAN DIRECTORY

This is another valuable publication containing information about various items , persons and events specially related to Calcutta from 1885-1957.

s. PROSCRIBED LITERATURE

This unique collection comprises publications in prose and verse as also pamphlets and posters in various languages including Hindi, English, Urdu, Tamil, Gujarati, Punjabi, Kannada, Bengali These were written during the freedom movement and reflected the strong passions among the freedom fighters which were aimed at arousing patriotic feelings among the public. Consequently, these were banned by the British Government, to prevent them from reaching the people. Some of the significant articles\poems in the Collection are:

 
Based on the material relating to the patriotic fervour portrayed in this Collection, the Department has brought out the following publications: