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In a country that has since time immemorial largely relied on the oral tradition for dissemination of knowledge and information, lack of concern for documentation may seem natural. Yet in this age of information, this callousness seems more and more unpardonable.


We in the Akademi are deeply disturbed by the sheer non-availability of documentary material even on the best of our authors. Even reconstructing their bio-data seems to pose a problem, let alone reconstruct their lives in detail. Neither their images - still or moving - nor their voices are readily available; their letters and manuscripts have been left to white ants and oblivion. It is high time we turned to documenting their images, voices, the momentous events that moulded their lives and visions, and the contemporary response to their creative achievements.


It is this realisation, though late, that has inspired us to imagine an archive of Indian literature that will be the seed of a unique Indian literary museum of the future, a delight to the common reader, the academic's pride, the researcher's paradise and a sacred centre of pilgrimage to literary historians in the times to come.


Documenting the Moment

As a first step towards preserving the memories of our writers, the Akademi has already produced 13 on eminent writers. These films strive to capture the spirit of their subjects through serious conversations, intimate chats, images of their everyday life, In a country that has since time immemorial largely relied on the oral tradition for dissemination of knowledge and information, lack of concern for documentation may seem natural. Yet in this age of information, this callousness seems more and more impardonable.


We in the Akademi are deeply disturbed by the sheer non-availability of documentary material even on the best of our authors. Even reconstructing their bio-data seems to pose a problem, let alone reconstruct their lives in detail. Neither their images - still or moving - nor their voices are readily available; their letters and manuscripts have been left to white ants and oblivion. It is high time we turned to documenting their images, voices, the momentous events that moulded their lives and visions, and the contemporary response to their creative achievements.


It is this realisation, though late, that has inspired us to imagine an archive of Indian literature that will be the seed of a unique Indian literary museum of the future, a delight to the common reader, the academic's pride, the researcher's paradise and a sacred centre of pilgrimage to literary historians in the times to come.


Considering the need for and the importance of documentation in the field of literature, Sahitya Akademi has launched a project for an Archives of Indian Literature since March 1997. The Archives is meant to collect and preserve precious material connected with writers and literature like manuscripts, photographs, audio recordings, video recordings and portraits, etc., and build up a solid basis for a museum of Indian Literature by collecting available video films and footage from institutions and individuals all over India, manuscripts of writers, interesting letters among writers and available audio-recordings of interviews and readings, etc. The Archives has already initiated scanning and preserving on CO ROMs, some of the most important photographs. Over a hundred photographs, after careful selection, have now been preserved on portfolio CD. Sahitya Akademi has already a project on archives of films and the video recordings related to Indian writers and their writings. Video documentaries of the Akademi on the best of Indian writers attempted to document their images, voices, the momentous events that moulded their lives and vision and the contemporary response to the creative achievements. This video films archive will be the seed of a unique Indian literary museum of the future, a delight to the common reader and useful to literary researchers and historians. These films have been produced by directors who are creative artists in their own right. The Akademi has so far produced 45 video films on the authors. VHS-cassettes of these films are also on sale.


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Last Updated : 13.12.2018