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India’s first municipal archive comes up in Kolkata

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India's first municipal archive comes up in KolkataIn a bid to preserve and narrate the over four centuries old history and evolution of Kolkata, the city’s civic authorities have launched a comprehensive archive, complete with rare photographs, texts and digital records, an official said here on March 5, 2015.

Said to be India’s first municipal archive, the ‘Amal Home Digital Archive’ has been developed and curated by the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC).

Primarily sourced from the Calcutta Municipal Gazette, published by the civic body since 1924, the contents offer insights into India’s freedom struggle through letters and speeches of people like Mahatma Gandhi, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose and Rabindranath Tagore, said Arun Roy, editor of KMC’s monthly magazine “Puroshree”, who is in-charge of the Rs.2 crore digitisation process.

“It is named after Amal Home, a tribute to the founder-editor of the Gazette. The records date back to the 17th century and chronicle the society, economics, the British rule, freedom struggle and other issues during the course of the centuries,” Roy told IANS.

Other nuggets include the original sale deed that shows how much the East India Company paid to purchase the three villages of Sutanuti, Gobindapur and Kolikata that eventually formed the present day Kolkata.

The archive also contains contributions by researchers, publishers and citizens who came forward to help with its making.

“Since it is India’s first archive built by a civic body, the process involves people from across India who can offer any historical data, photographs, etc on the city,” Roy said.

It also consists of documents related to municipalities in undivided Indian towns, now in Bangladesh, like Dhaka, Rajsahi, Khulna, Barishal, Chittagong, cities which are now in Pakistan like Lahore, Karachi and also cities like Mumbai, Surat, Chennai and Chandannagore, the French colony in India.

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