19th visit of Florus Geraedts, Dutch archivist to India & Bangladesh. Report 1: Delhi, Kolkata and Dhaka, 30 November 2012 – 3 January 2013
January 11, 2013, 4:33 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

30 nov – 7 dec ’12 Delhi. NAI discussion about new cultural program cooperation National Archives of India  (NAI) and National Archives of Bangladesh (NAB) with Asst Director and other staff members of Section Conferences and congresses; new CEP and Memorandum of Understanding on Archival cooperation (exchange of archival documents and exchange of knowledge and professional training), based on meetings of IOR and SWARBICA 24 – 28 september 2012 in Delhi with NAI and NAB directors. SAS Director Syed Farid Ahamed states that NAI SAS teachers can be helpful with establishing a Bangladeshi School for Archival Studies.  Classes in School of Archival Studies (SAS) with Director of SAS on Provenance principle, organizing requesting archival documents, finding in repository and registering of archival documents for use in Reading room. Main purpose of archival management: availability of archives for researchers.

9 dec – 18 dec ’12   Kolkata West Bengal. Research  also at the request of mrs Jinna Smit of National Archives of Netherlands (NAN) on the Dutch patta’s, 18th and 19th century in the West Bengal State Archives. These pattas should be considered as permits given by the Dutch colonial authority in Chinsura to local citizens for living or shop keeping in Chinsura. Research in Revenue Board’s records 1820-s, 1830-s and 1840-s for finding information about Rajshahi and Dutch presence in Rajshahi. Specially Boro Kuthi (“Dutch Factory”) in Rajshahi near river Poddha. With journalist and historical researcher Biplab Gupta. Gupta and I went to  Baranagar and Chinsura for finding more traces of Dutch presence also at the request of Lennart Bes, Universities of Leiden and Nijmegen. Contact between dr Ratan Lal Chakraborty in Shyamnagar (WB) and Azizul Russel (Dhaka) on the Villages notes of some villages in Barisal, found in the District Collectorate Record Room in Pathuakali.

18 dec – 3 january 2013 Bangladesh. Dhaka, Distr. Natore, Distr. Joypurhat

Visiting several times Prothom Alo Archives Department where I found 10 men and women under guidance of mr Lutful Haq and mr Fazle Mir, working on digitizing the documentary information on various subjects in a search – and – find programme. Translation of Van Schendel’s History of Bangladesh in Bangla. Publishing of a book on the Administrative history of Bengal 1759 – 1947. Research and accessioning of archives of the Liberation War Research Center. Accessioning of VOC archives on Bengal in Netherlands (NAN) for Bangladesh and Indian researchers.  Visiting Union Parishad of Ioara in Natore District for seeing their records and the UISC as well as bringing online of Birth registry. Visiting with Tushar, Emon and Shimon of Union Parishad (UP) of Mohammadpur, near Panchbibi in Joypurhat District. Same for UP Atapur and Panchbibi Paurashava. Uchai Highschool in Atapur and Girls Highschool in Atapur: online computer available, teachers in IT present. Mainly IT teachers also charged with school administration and registry of admission and examination. Important changes since 2010: even in remote area UP’s have a UISC (Union parishad information Service Center) where a young (c 25 – 30 yr) IT trained young staff member is charged with public service, records keeping (hard copy files) and bringing online of Birth registration. As well as offering local citizens opportunity to browse on internet with the UISC computer. RTI – act 2009 certainly attracted more attention of common citizens during the last 2 years. Computer capability of many more citizens has grown considerably, even under senior persons (50 yr up).  Care for elder archives is underdeveloped. Awareness of relevance for history is still lacking. In places where I visited earlier for BARM and on behalf of Barm Society, awareness of relevance of knowledge about history of your school or your UP is growing.  I advise again (since 2000 !) NAB should make a VDO documentary for displaying NAB on TV channels and at national cultural occasions. And for example in the Information Literacy Programmes of ISLM dept Dhaka University of dr Mezbah,  mr Minhaj and mr Sigfried Janzing.  This documentary should give attention to local history, local use of RTI – Act and local Archives & Records Management.

Florus Geraedts  5 january 2013


Dutch Kuthi (factorij), Baranagar, a town in the northern outskirts of Kolkata