Guwahati, Saturday, May 25, 2013
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Rare documents on display at State Archives
Ajit patowary
 GUWAHATI, May 24 – Here is a rare opportunity for the scholars, teachers, students, bureaucrats and others to have a glimpse of the rare photographs and records that provide the threads to many historic developments of the State during the past two centuries.

The State Archives has put on display some such photographs and records, which are regarded to be invaluable archival material, in an exhibition at its premises. The exhibition, which started on April 19 last, will continue till the end of this month.

The State Archives has in its possession records and photographs of virtually three centuries, since the early days of the British rule in India, which had connections with the State’s political and socio-economic developments.

Jishnu Baruah, Principal Secretary of the State Archives said the exhibition has been organised to arouse interest among the people on the State Archives. It is also a part of the initiative undertaken to renovate and modernise the Archives.

Efforts are also on to develop a website of the Archives to provide all the details about the records, books etc., preserved in the Archives, Baruah said.

In the exhibition the items on display include the photographs of the January, 1894 handwritten poster, which contained an appeal to the people of Patharughat in Darrang district to assemble at a Raijor Mel (people’s assembly) on Magh 12, 13 and 14 of 1301 San against the exorbitant hike in land revenue.

It is now a well-known fact that over 100 people died at Patharughat in the face of repressive measures unleashed by the British rulers following a decree of the Raijor Mel to resist the enhanced land revenue.

The photographs of the first Governor of Assam Nicholas Doad Beatson Bell and his wife, first editor of the District Gazetteers of Assam Basil Coplenton Allen, first Protem Speaker of the Assam Assembly Frederick Weston Hockenhull, first Assamese Minister in the State Government Nava Kumar Dutta of Dibrugarh, inventor of the Indian Railways vacuum break Guruprasad Das, author of the Mills Report of Assam JP Mills and the photocopies of the correspondences made by all the Chief Ministers of the State are also on display.

Besides, the exhibition has also on display the photograph of Cecil Albert Humphrey, who ordered the hanging of Kushal Konwar. It also has the photocopies of the passport application of Rupkonwar Jyotiprasad Agarwalla and the July 27, 1926 certificate of Padmanath Gohainborooah in his favour.

It also has the ‘Military Report on the Brahmaputra River System’ prepared by the British Army in 1914 on display and the photograph of Ech Smith, the lady British hairdresser of the early 20th century. The State Archives has in its collection 30,000 to 32,000 books, journals and reports, 3.5 lakh old official files of the various departments of the State Government and also the records of the commissioners of Dacca, Goalpara (Rangpur) and Cooch Behar, Bengal Board of Revenue, among others.

Recently, the passport files of the British era Assam were listed separately. It has the original files relating to the raising of the First Battalion of the Assam Regiment, which later became the Assam Rifles. It became the first paramilitary force raised in India.

The handwritten reports of JD Anderson, the then DC of Darrang and the then Superintendent of Police of Darrang district on the Patharughat uprising are also there in the Archives.

The Archives also has the original reports on the 1897 Great Assam Earthquake.

Archives Director Dr D Sonowal said the Archives has in its possession the documents like the decree (true copy) issued by the then Governor General of India Lord Warren Hastings in 1774, banning slavery in Assam.

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