Initiate measures to preserve precious Dogra records

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Dear Editor,
Over 6,000 bundles (Bastas) comprising more than 42,000 files, which were shifted to Kala Kendra and other precious record is being dumped on the floor of the rooms, which is very dangerous as this precious record can get destroyed or badly damaged due to the way it is being treated. There are approximately eight lakh historical files so far preserved in the Archives since the days of Maharajas in the Mubarak Mandi.
These precious ancient records, depicting various eras of rules, have benn preserved for the sake of posterity.
Jammu and Kashmir High Court in 2016 as a temporary measure had asked the government to shift the records of Archives Department to the first floor of Kala Kendra building after a PIL was filed for the preservation and proper care of these valuable records. It is pertinent to mention here that the Archives and museum is the soul of Mubarak Mandi complex, without which the historic complex would become lifeless.
While taking up a PIL regarding preservation and maintenance of the records till the time a better place is acquired as a make shift arrangement, the court in 2016 had given instructions to shift the record to Kala Kendra. A committee was constituted under the chairmanship of a senior advocate which recommended shifting of record to Kala Kendra. Now, the record at Mubarak Mandi complex is being shifted to another room so that restoration work can be started here. But it is sad that the record is not handled with utmost care. This attitude can damage the century old records.
According to an official of the department of Archives, it is necessary to maintain a low temperature to preserve this record. Besides, the record needs to be handled with extra care. Presently, the record comprises of about 3,000 Bastas (bundles) which comprises of Persian record (1724 – 1892 AD), Army record (1885 – 1947), Food and supply (1945 – 1950), Health (1940 – 1969), Home (1913 – 1965) and other precious Dogra records and for there is need of experts, who can upload and then unload these Basta properly without damaging the same.
These records are priceless as far as Dogra culture and heritage is concerned and one cannot take risk of any mishandling. Also, there is no such provision for temperature and humidity control and other facilities required to preserve these records in these rooms where this record is kept. Now, the question arises if in this shifting process of uploading and then unloading, the records get damaged who will bear the responsibility? Is this the way we are preserving our heritage?
Through your esteemed daily, I would request the Lt Governor to look into matter and take some serious steps to restore the glory of our heritage and at the same time issue necessary instructions for preserving the precious records.
Shatrughan Jamwal,
Panjthirthi.

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