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Khalsa College digitises rare Sikh manuscripts

khalsa college manuscripts

  • Library has manuscripts of Guru Granth Sahib and other rare sikh manuscripts.
  • Library has many documents and newspapers

The year-long ambitious digitisation process of rare scriptures and documents of importance at Khalsa College Sikh Research Library is due to complete in a few days. Over 3,21,000 pages from Sikh manuscripts, hand written documents and rare books have been preserved digitally. Another 50,000 are left to complete the process.

Vying for a heritage status from the UN, the historic Khalsa College had initiated restoration process of several of its features, including conservation of over 6,300 books of historical importance, including manuscripts of Nanak Prakash, a bio-graphical account of Guru Nanak Dev and Parmarth Sukhmani Sahasar Nama written in 1646 AD. It also has historic editions of newspapers, journals and handwritten notes in Persian, Urdu and Sanskrit.

Established in 1930, the library has been assisting research scholar worldwide with its impressive collection of literature on Sikh history. “The digitisation process is our priority as most of the literature in our library is exclusive, some even 200 years old and of significant research value. First edition newspapers, books and lithographs that date back to sixteenth century and can be found nowhere in the country have been preserved in our library. Literature that old is in delicate condition, with concerns like pages getting damaged due to touch or constant exposure. This way, we have ensured that they stay safe from any damage,” said Dr Mehal Singh, Principal, Khalsa College.

khalsa college manuscripts 2
Since the college attracts research scholars and students from around the world, having a digital library will only add to its academic status. “We had lot of scholars coming to us, seeking information from these documents. Now, we will only have to access the computer for any query regarding these documents, making the process faster and smoother. Also, we plan to create small projection areas, where excerpts from the historic literature can be displayed for students and visitors,” added Dr Mehal.
The digitisation project was launched in July last year. A Jallandhar-based company was roped in for the project. A collection of photographs has also been converted into digital files. The college management plans to expand the digitisation process to preserve the audio and video library as well. The college had also received a grant from the UGC after getting recognised as a heritage institution.

Neha Saini, Tribune News Service

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