Visit to Kolkata, December 2016, by Shahedul Alam Chowdhury, Florus Geraedts and Elias Kanchon; short report by Shahedul
December 26, 2016, 10:43 pm
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Caring for “Archives and Record Management” is a necessity not only to preserve History but to SAVE LIVES. The issue regarding archives, documentation and record management in health care, which I discussed in the conference on 31st January 2015 made me get involved with Archival Movement. As a part, recently I was privileged and volunteered to visit India to attend different Meetings and discussions with Mr. Florus, a mentor and colleague though I am not a Historian or Archivist. I’m so grateful to him for providing such a wonderful opportunity. And special thanks to very inspiring Mr. Sigfried.
“Phenomenal” was every discussion we had, all places we visited and every step we took during the short visit. The discussion at West Bengal Directorate of Archives and Records Management, the visit at CALCUTTA University, the cooperative dialogue at CSSS, the demonstration on techniques of archiving documents at ASIATIC SOCIETY, the visit at JORASHANKO, the Training at Municipality Office, or the discussion with Dr. Ratan Lal Chakraborty (friend of Mr. Florus) were full of life. I felt very welcomed everywhere.
KOLKATA whispered into ears and asked me to visit again. So lovely!!!

Draft Minutes of the meeting of the Executive Committee of BARMS held on Saturday 24 December 2016 at the Seminar Room of the Department of Information Science and Library Management, Dhaka University plus brief mention on the Talk “Record Management is not a Rocket Science” by Dr. Nasim Iqbal.
December 25, 2016, 10:31 pm
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The EC MEETING of BARMS was held at 3 pm with Prof. Dr. Sharif uddin Ahmed, President, BARMS in the Chair. 10 EC Members and 4 Associate Members were present.

Chairperson Dr. Sharif welcomed the members and thanked them for their presence and requested them to see whether the minutes of the previous meeting has been recorded correctly or not. Members observed that the minutes were recorded correctly and so the minutes of 29 October 16 were confirmed.

Under Agenda 2 a discussion followed about fixing the date of the Biennial meeting and the venue. Dr Sharif observed that it should be held in March 2017 as that would be the right time allowing most of the members to attend. Mr. Lutful Huq suggested that the venue could be the National Archives as that would further strengthen the close relationship between BARMS and NAB. Mr. Florus also agreed with the idea. However, others observed that the location could be inconvenient for many and more logistic support could be had from the officers and staff of the Bangladesh National Museum, for example. After discussion it was resolved that the Biennial Meeting be held at the BNM on Saturday 18 or 25 March 2017 in the morning subject to its availability.

It was also resolved that the honorable Cultural Minister be invited to become the Chief Guest, the Cabinet Secretary the Special Guest and the DG of Museum as Guest of Honor.

Under Agenda 3 it was discussed that fund has to be raised for meeting the expenses of the Biennial and it was resolved that contributions have to be sought from philanthropists, business houses etc. and through commercial ads. A special souvenir would be published on the occasion for which articles would be written by the members. Members were requested to submit their papers by the end of January 2017.

Under Agenda 4 President Sharif informed that a report on Mymensingh visit by a team of BARMS would be placed at the talk session immediately after the EC meeting.

Under agenda 5 Dr. Ahmed reported that although the Barisal visit was fixed but because of the holiday of the educational institutions it was delayed. After discussion it was resolved that the visit would now be held on 21-22 January 2017. Members agreed and showed enthusiasm in taking part in the visit.

Under Agenda 5 the membership of BARMS of ICA was discussed at  length and Mr. Florus observed that it is high time that BARMS should become a member of ICA. However, it was found that BARMS is not in a position to pay annual subscription for membership. Mr. Lutful Huq suggested that BARMS could become non contributory member by taking the option of performing various works for ICA. It was resolved that Mr. Huq and Dr. Ahmed should work together to materialize this alternative membership.

It was also discussed that whether BARMS should become a registered body. After much discussion it was resolved that registration may not be necessary for the time being but the address of the Office may be changed from the Dhaka University as the President is no longer with the Dhaka university whose chamber’s address had so far been used as Office of BARMS. It is also resolved that a letter be written to the Ministry of Cultural Affairs for providing an Office for BARMS in the Directorate of Archives and Libraries, Agargaon.

Under agenda AOB Mr. Lutful Huq proposed that BARMS should make a study of the National Archives of Bangladesh as a reflection on the present state of Record Keeping and Record Management in Bangladesh. A good deal of discussion followed and  it was resolved that a Committee be formed with Dr. Hafizur Rahman Bhuiyan, Vice President  as the Convener and Mr. Lutful Huq and Mr. Mir Fazle Ahmed Chowdhury members. The Committee can co-opt members and should submit a report as soon as possible.

There being no other business to conduct, the meeting ended with a vote of thanks to and from the Chair.


Short Report on Mymensingh Visit by BARMS members and a talk on Record Management is not a Rocket Science by Dr. Nasim Iqbal.

A very lively session was held in the Hall Room of DISLM of DU on the subjects. Dr. Ahmed and Dr Hafizur Rahman presented a report on their visit to Mymensingh Record Room and discussed in detail the state of the Record Keeping and Record Room of Mymensingh. They gave in details the state of record keeping by showing some slides and observed that the record keeping is very unsatisfactory and that immediate measures be taken to modernize the record keeping system  and to preserve the most valuable historical records of Mymensingh. The audience asked several questions and agreed that time has come to carry out a nationwide campaign for better management of government records and documents.

Dr. Nasim Iqbal , an expert in Record Management and Record Keeping from Australia gave a very valuable and interesting talk on the history of record keeping and its present state in the developed countries. He started with a question What is Record, gave a history of Record Keeping , What is Record Management, Benefits of Records Management , Records Management Process, Records Management Standards , Information Management Framework and What should we do? It is clear from his talk that how important is record keeping and sooner we appreciate it the better would be the society and the citizens.

His talk evoked lots of queries and questions from a considerable number of participants. Dr. Iqbal answered all questions often entering into arguments following some critical questions from the participants.

This seminar part was attended by a considerable number of faculty, researchers, students and records managers.

Preliminary note on Florus Geraedts visit of three weeks in India, December 1 – December 23.
December 24, 2016, 1:10 am
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These 3 weeks in India, I have been working on how to develop cooperation between Indian and Bangladeshi archival institutions in order to create an interaction, helpful in developing more archival awareness, knowledge and skills in Bangladesh particularly. The deputy director of NAI in Delhi Dr M.Anisur Hoque, director Dr Sonowal of Assam State Archives in Guwahati and director and several staffs of West Bengal State Archives showed their interest in these ideas. Our Archives friends Elias Kanchon and Shahedul Alam Chowdhury came on their own initiative to meet me in Kolkata and together the three of us could have a tight scheduled program here in West Bengal on the subject of BARM.

To be continued …

Call for suggestions for the one day conference @Prothom Alo, February 2017
December 19, 2016, 11:30 pm
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This conference day (4 or 5 February) in Prothom Alo is meant – as Lutful suggested – for several archivally or as record keepers involved persons to express their archival experiences, their possibilities and problems and thus exchange their views and knowledge. It will be a real study day indeed.

Think of following issues:

  1. Making files and mentioning description on file cover and in list. Inventory. Give each of the files a number.
  2. Who did send the letter? To whom was de letter sent? Subject of the letter or memorandum or note.
  3. Storing in covers and in boxes. Publishing file descriptions in your organisations Website.
  4. DIGITAL documents archiving: always give your document a title or name; must contain date, subject, author’s name. Always store your documents newly made or changed in new version both on your computer, laptop or smartphone AND in cloud, like Dropbox, Google Drive. Publishing file descriptions in your organisations Website.

Think of the following problems:

  1. Our colleagues outside my archives dept. are often not returning files and documents they borrowed from our archives.
  2. Our principals are not encouraging us as archivists.
  3. Our principals and bosses do not want to take care for good, safe, dry and well protected place / room for storing archives.
  4. How to make good regulations for use of archives?
  5. Our colleagues and our clients do not respect and value the necessity of archives, files, volumes.
  6. How to motivate the colleagues to discover the VALUE of archives for working of the WHOLE organisation (school, hospital, local Govt)?

To organizers Lutful, Mir, Sharif, Elias, Sigfried, add to the subjects above mentioned and give more of these practical archives management rules. Also, let us send these  suggestions for our course day on 4 february 2017 to Lutful Haque, Minnat of ZIA Heart Hospital Dinajpur, Niher Roy of Kishoreganj Paurashava, Elias Kanchon, Prof. Mahabub of HABH, Shamim of Gazi Mizan Hospital Khulna, Motalib of Sardah Bdesh Police Academy, Nazimuddin of ICDDR,B.  Ask them: Do you have more items of archives managing work to be discussed in our study day 4 february 2017?

How, for a outside Dhaka working archivist or record keeper (think of Motalib in BPA Sardah, or Shamim in Khulna Gazi Mizan Hospital)  to get help from for example National Archives in Agargaon, or advise from ISLM dept. Dhaka University, or ISLM dept. Rajshahi University?  How to introduce SELF STUDY on Archives Management by using BLOG ?

Preliminary report on the Day Long Mymensingh Visit on 16 November 2016 by a BARMS Team headed by the President
December 19, 2016, 11:10 pm
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Following the resolution of the EC Meeting held on 29 October, 2016 , a team led by President Professor Dr. Sharif uddin Ahmed visited the Record Room of the Mymesingh District on 16 November 2016. The other members of the team were

  1. Dr Hafizur Rahman Bhuyian, Vice President, BARMS
  2. Mir Fazle Ahmed Chowdhury , Member, Executive Council, BARMS
  3. NiladrI Chatterjee, Member, BARMS
  4. Muhammad Asiful Basar, Member, BARMS
  5. Akhteruzzaman Azam, Associate Member, BARMS
  6. Miss Riffat Mehnaz Rintu , Associate Member, BARMS.

The team met the Deputy Commissioner Mr. Md. Khalilur Rahman and his officials at the DC Conference Room at 11 am and explained to him the purpose of the visit together with the history and aims and objectives of BARMS. Both the President and the Vice President Dr. Hafizur Rahman Bhuyian emphasized the urgency of properly maintaining and preserving the local official records both for historical reasons as well as for good governance. They also informed that in this context BARMS as far as possible will provide assistance in modernizing the Record Room and train the officials. President also informed that the Government has a plan to establish a regional archives at Mymensingh that is Mymensingh Divisional Archives. He also mentioned that unlike in the past the DC Record Room does not preserve other records like educational, police, development projects etc. He further observed that through the initiative of BARMS some budgetary allocation has been made to develop the Record Rooms of the DC Offices. As far as the preservation of the Record Room as Heritage Monument is concerned as it is a part of the old Mymensing DC Office so the DC office as a whole has to be preserved for which, may be,  a new proposal has to be submitted. The DC Office is old and dilapidated and may be demolished any time and replaced by a modern building. However that cannot be allowed as it is a heritage building. Some other members of the team also spoke about the importance of preserving the district records and good  physical maintenance of the Record Room.

The DC Mr. Khalilur Rahman deeply appreciated the initiatives of BARMS and observed that it is a noble task. He also mentioned that he and his officials are aware of the importance of preserving records as they are valuable historical documents and part of country’s history and heritage. He also mentioned that he has witnessed while visiting countries in Europe and Asia, how they   care about their history and heritage and maintain their archives. In Bangladesh unfortunately this aspect has  so far been neglected. In Mymensingh there is a lack of   manpower and trained officials. Funding is also a problem though with the recent fund of 5 lakhs taka some works have been done to repair the Record Room Building. Sometimes it also becomes difficult to convince the authority as to the usefulness of preserving the old records as no one consult them and no researcher come to utilize them. Here universities and other research organizations must play their roles. He finally mentioned that he and his office would provide all cooperation and help  to BARMS as well as government in modernizing the Record Room and preserving the DC Office as a heritage building.

The team then went to see the Record Room and the documents preserved there. While visiting, they found one part of the Record Room is much modernized and digital facilities are provided to serve certain needs of the public. However, most of the old records especially the old land records are not properly kept and some documents are on the verge of total ruination. Moreover, even basic things are missing   to make the Record Room free   from insects, rats etc. These old records need immediate attention for long term preservation. The officials who work there do not have any knowledge of Record Room Keeping.

The following steps were suggested for the Mymensingh District Record Room.

  1. Mymensingh will adopt a pilot project to establish the Divisional Archives at Mymensingh.
  2. The existing Record Room to be modernized and the officers will be trained .
  3. The additional funds now allocated will be utilized to make the Record Room archive friendly and the proper arranging of records.
  4. Researchers will be encouraged to utilize the records for academic degrees like M.Phil. and Ph. D.

The team then went to see the Record Room of the Mymensingh Municipality. It is a very small room and records are not properly kept with a view to archiving them. To the utter surprise of the team it was found that the Municipality does not have any records of either of the British Period or  of the  Pakistan time. However, the CEO Mr. Tarikul Islam , a student of History from Dhaka University  assured that the Record Room will be properly maintained but emphasized that researchers must come forward to utilize them otherwise the authority might not take any interest in them.

The CEO also made a power point presentation of the new Master Plan of the Mymensingh City which is very impressive. By 2030 Mymensingh would, if the Master Plan is implemented, become a very well organized modern city.

The CEO  also informed about various educational, welfare and service projects now being carried out by the City authority. The team also briefly met the Mayor of the city.

The team also visited some old but majestic Zamindari houses that also need to be preserved.

Finally they visited the famous Zainul Abedin Sangrahashala,  an art museum in Mymensing with the works of the famous artist of Bangladesh Zainul Abedin. Of course the team went for a walk in the evening along the bank of  the famous Old Brahamaputra River. The Team returned to Dhaka by 9pm.

23d visit of Florus Geraedts to Bangladesh 24 December – 27 February
December 3, 2016, 10:05 pm
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24 Dec. 2016: 09.05 am arrival Dhaka In’l Airport
24 Dec. 2016: Ashkona, Haji Camp
25 Dec. 2016: Danmondhi
26 – 28 Dec. 2016: Bus from Dhaka to (Natore Distr.) Bonpara, Bhobanipur; visit UP Joari
29 Dec. 2016 – 1 jan 2017: Dinajpur Paurashava archives; ZIA Heart Hospital; College Archives; Dinajpur DCRR Archives and building.
2 – 4 Jan. 2017:  Birampur
4 – 8 Jan. 2017: Saidpur Paurashava, College,
8 – 11 Jan. 2017:  Naogaon,
11 – 15 Jan. 2017: Bogra / Kaipara  / Shibganj
15 – 19 Jan. 2017: Dhaka
19 – 23 Jan. 2017: Khulna
23 – 26 Jan. 2017: Jamalpur, Bonpara,
26 – 29 Jan. 2017: Dhaka
30 Jan. – 12 Febr. Program Sigfried & Florus  Seminar Prothom Alo; NAB; Rajshahi Sardah BPA, HABH; Rajshahi City Corporation, Municipal Archives, City Museum Boro Kuthi; Kishoreganj Shatabdir Contho; Pakundia / Nurundi Community Dialogue.
11 – 14 Febr.: Monkanda, Sandikona, Netrakona,
15 – 17 Febr.: Habiganj
17 – 19 Febr.: Saisthaganj, Saisthaganj UP archives,  Shanti Kami Academy,
19 – 22 Febr.: Srimangal BTB BTRI  Moulvi Bazar, Tea Estate.
22 – 25 Febr.: Sylhet, Paurashava archives; Police Sylhet; SUST CSE dept.
26 – 27 Febr.: Dhaka
27 Febr. 2017: departure 9.55 hrs am Dhaka In’l Airport Hazrat Shah Jalal In’l Airport for Dubai and Amsterdam, arrival 27 febr. 2017 at 20.00 hrs pm.