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Gurus Zafarnama, Precious Record Dumped In Bundles


1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
Zafarnama, precious record dumped in bundles
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service
Patiala, March 12

The archaeological record containing vital information on the history of Punjab, Sikh religion and Mughal rule in India is threatened due to poor upkeep. The premises housing the state archives department was handed over by the previous government to a private company for the construction of a heritage hotel. The displaced department and historical documents, manuscripts and paintings are yet to be rehabilitated.

Among the articles under threat due to the lack of proper place to house include a copy of Zafarnama written by Guru Gobind Singh to then Mughal emperor Aurangzeb, Ani-e-Akbari written by Abul Fazal, Akbarnama by Ali Ibraham Khan, a hand-written Japji Sahib, Bir Sahib and Mughal farmans.

Besides, the record lying in bags in the corridors of the old Patiala Commissioner’s office include vital historical documents regarding eight princely states of Punjab, including Nabha, Patiala, Jind, Faridkot, Kapurthala and Nalagarh. It also has all old gazette notifications of the Punjab Government and paintings depicting the Anglo-Sikh war. The sources here said that in an urgency to get the building housing the archaeological building for a heritage hotel the government did not even care to find a suitable place for housing the precious historical manuscripts. It initially shifted the record to the languages department office, then to Punjabi University Library and finally to the present site of old commissioner’s office.

Even today the place where the record has been housed is not permanent. The officials of the archaeological department, on condition of anonymity, said the building in which the department has been planned to be housed is still under renovation. It may take another few months before the building is completed after renovation.

]The scholars who use records for research purposes are sufferers of the government move. Since the records are lying now dumped in bundles they find it very difficult to trace relevant documents. They alleged since the manuscripts and documents pertaining to archaeology are very fragile the government should have initially looked for an appropriate place to house them before dislocating them.

The way the entire record of the archaeological Department has been dumped in an unscientific manner speaks about the apathy of the government regarding precious historical documents.

Officials of the Department of Archaeology present here said they had been given strict instructions against allowing any photographer take pictures of dumps of archaeological record.

Director Archaeology Jagjit Puri said the new building that was being constructed would be declared as the state museum. It would be the first state museum.
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