Amritsar, Punjab: Hundreds of rare books, manuscripts and hand-written documents belonging to the era of Sikh gurus, reflecting Punjab’s rich cultural heritage, preserved at the 83-year-old Sikh Research Library and Museum in over a century-old Khalsa College, have been successfully digitised.
The material has been put to digital technology through computerisation following a rigorous six-month long processing by a Jalandhar-based private company.
Khalsa College Governing Council president Sardar Satyajit Singh Majithia, who inaugurated the digitisation of work today, said the effort was meant for restoration and preservation of the precious material for posterity. He said by using the latest technology, the books and manuscripts in the library had been restored and in the next phase, the museum’s photographs would also be preserved through digitisation.
The Sikh Research Library was established in 1930 and is a treasure trove of the historical documents dating back to 16th and 17th century. It houses 6,274 books, which include rare books in English and Punjabi. There are hundreds of manuscripts and documents in Urdu, Sanskrit and Persian apart from newspapers and magazines as old as 1904.
”All the material except for some newspapers had been digitised,” said Majithia. “There are weapons belonging to the times of Khalsa Army and other Sikh wars, besides the old coins of the Sikh era. It is a treasure house of Sikh history and culture. Hundreds of students use the documents for their research activities,” he said.
He unveiled the project of digitisation, flanked by the KCGC vice-president, Charanjit Singh Cahdha, and honorary secretary Rajinder Mohan Singh Chhina.
Chhina said they had planned to preserve all the rare documents and books in the museum by using the digital technology and the work on the project was almost complete. He said, “There are two birs of Guru Granth Sahib which are handwritten and the newspapers of early 20th century in the library are also a major attraction for the students and researchers.”
He said these rare manuscripts, books, documentaries and newspapers would now be available to the public at large on the internet after a month.
Among others, KCGC’s additional honorary secretary Swinder Singh Kathunangal, SS Abdal, SS Mannan, Ajmer Singh Heir, Dr Mehal Singh, JS Dhillon, Dr Sukhbir Kaur Mahal and others were also present on the occasion.