Rare books gather dust in library lockup

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | ASIF YAR KHAN
Published Dec 8, 2017, 1:31 am IST
Updated Dec 8, 2017, 1:31 am IST
Books with archives dept await sharing between TS, AP.
The library in the department of archeology and museums where about 24,000 books on the history of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh are stored.
 The library in the department of archeology and museums where about 24,000 books on the history of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh are stored.

Hyderabad: About 24,000 books detailing various historical aspects of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh are now locked up at the Department of Archeology and Museums (DAM) library at Gunfoundary. The books mostly dating back to the pre-Independence era are awaiting sharing between the states of Telangana and AP.  According to officials, the books are to be shared in the ratio of 52:48 between Telangana and AP. Two committees comprising officials from AP and Telangana are yet to get together and finalise the details. 

The rare archival books contain details about the architecture and planning of historic monuments and cities of the region.  In addition, they contain mines of information on the civilisations and dynasties which ruled Telangana and Andhra Pradesh over the centuries. “The TS DAM wants all books published prior to 1948 to be handed over to it, while the remaining books would to be given to AP,” said an official. Historians and research scholars say that the books should be divided not on basis of ratio, but their historic connections with the states, whether TS or AP.

 

“If a research scholar from Telangana does local research, he cannot go to a library in AP for books related to Telangana. Some logical formula needs to be derived,” says M. Venkateshwar, a research scholar from the city. Apart from research scholars, these rare books are also used for reference by the archives department staff. “Books are referred to to ascertain the history of any material found during excavations or by chance discovery,” says a department official.

Telangana yet to digitise its treasure tomes

While books across libraries in the country are being digitised and preserved for posterity, the Telangana Department of Archeology and Museums (DAM) has no plans of doing so as of now.  This poor state of libraries runs contrary to the plans of Telangana government, which is trying to promote the state’s rich culture and history across the world.

Several thousands of books are in possession of DAM and kept at its head office, state museum and other offices in the state. A few books dating back to the pre-Independence era are in tatters, sources say. The books are used for reference by researchers, historians and history buffs. Some rare and priceless books are not available in the market and only the DAM library has them. Constant use of books will damage them, hence their digitisation is absolutely necessary to enable historians and researchers now and in the future.  

“World over, books have now been brought in the public domain to help researchers. This has to be done with our books too. One cannot expect researchers from abroad to come all the way to Telangana to read up books related to its history and culture. The government should understand this,” historian Ms P. Anuradha Reddy said.  When contacted, Ms N. R. Visalatchy, director of  the department of archeology and museums, said it had its own priorities which are in part related to its budget. 

Location: India, Telangana




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