National Archives worried valuable hand-written manuscripts face risk of destruction while shifting

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KATHMANDU — As many as 50 thousand hand-written manuscripts face the risk of damage when the National Archives within the Singha Durbar precincts is shifted to another location.

A meeting of the Council of Ministers on May 8, 2014 had decided to provide the 13 ropanis land occupied by the National Archives to the Supreme Court. The government had then decided to provide land at Narayanhity to the National Archives. However, the government through a decision on August 7, 2014 decided to provide land to the national archives at another location. But the government has not yet specified where it is going to allocate the land.

Chief of the National Archives, Saubhagya Pradhananga says hundreds of invaluable artefacts would face the risk of damage if the National Archives is shifted. The present building housing the National Archives was constructed with the assistance from the Government of India.

The block behind the main building where the microfilming section is presently housed was constructed with the cooperation of the Government of Germany.

“The donor countries, recognizing the importance of the artifacts, have extended support for the preservation of the valuable manuscripts and records. The government should not allow these valuable artefacts to get damaged,” Pradhananga said.

He is of the view that the National Archives should not be shifted in view of the protection and preservation of the valuable articles and records of archaeological value since the present location is at a suitable location from the perspective of security as it is located inside Singha Durbar and is also convenient for the visitors.

The Gorkha Earthquake on April 25, 2015 and subsequent aftershocks did not cause any damage to both buildings of the National Archives as they are earthquake-resistant.

Pradhananga argued that shifting the national archives to another location would be both costly and risky as air conditioning appliances have been installed in the galleries for the preservation of the artifacts. He also said that another land property would have to be purchased which entails more cost to the national exchequer. A security siren has also been installed.

The Archives was established on 3rd October 1967 with the objective of keeping the hand-written valuable records/manuscripts under the protection of the then Bir Library.

The Karanya Biyog, Skanda Purana, Satdharma Kundalika dating back to the 13th century, Nyaybikasini, Lal Mohar, Sandhipatra, Istihar and other letters of antique importance belonging to the period of Malla dynasty king Jayasthiti Malla are stored in the Archives, according to its officer Manita Neupane. Here is the collection of original manuscripts written in the Sanskrit, Newari, Maithili, Hindi, Tibetan and some are in the Bengali languages. Microfilming of 200 thousand books has been done here.

The Nishwastatwa Samhita, a handwritten text of the Shaiva religion dating back to the ninth century is under the protection of Archive which is the sole antique listed in the ‘Memory of World Heritage’.

The Archives is celebrating the golden jubilee of its establishment on Tuesday tomorrow and Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba is to inaugurate the celebrations.

The Archives has started observing the National Archives Day since 2072 BS.

The Day is observed on Asoj 17 in the Nepali calendar and this year no official programmes were held on that day as it followed the Bijaya Dashami festival. The formal programmes of the National Archives Day will be held on the occasion of its Golden Jubilee Day celebrations. RSS