Thiruvananthapuram: Building for Palm leaf upkeep

Rs 15-crore complex on Karyavattom campus to have most modern facilities.

Thiruvananthapuram: Cultural enthusiasts had a feeling of déja vu when a project to preserve the many million palm leaf records in the state figured in the budget. A similar project was announced when K. C. Joseph was the culture minister, but though money was allocated, nothing happened afterwards, according to historian M. G. Sasibhooshan. “I do not doubt the good intention of the finance minister. Palm leaves are our primary sources of history. We should make every effort to protect and preserve those records," he said.

"But when such a project was announced earlier, the government did not see to it that it was implemented, and the money got lapsed. This time, we hope that there will be follow-ups.” This year, the budget talks about building a complex on the Kerala University campus in Karyavattom with “most modern facilities” for preserving the palm leaf manuscripts for posterity. The budget allocation of Rs 15 crores is the first instalment for construction of the complex.

Among the palm leaf records listed on the state archives website is Mathilakam records. In fact, this would form the lion’s share of those stored in a building at Fort. These documents related to Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple offer a lot of insights into the history of Travancore, as the temple and state administration were interlinked.

In addition to this, the archive holds documents of correspondence between the Diwan of Travancore and that of Cochin on boundary disputes, Alleppey port records with details of export and import of food grains, tax records, documents related to revenue and expenditure. Moreover, the state archives department should, according to experts, acquire copies of documents which reveal Kerala’s history. Say for example the records during Portuguese and Dutch invasion which are now in Lisbon and Chennai, respectively.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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