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Rare historical documents set for restoration

NEW DELHI: The National Archives of India (NAI), the repository of non-current government records, is set for a fresh round of restoration and conservation of about 4.5 crore pages, which include rare historical records such as photographs, hand-written documents, maps and treaties. Some of the documents are fragile and have developed stains and worm marks. They have also become translucent due to aging.

The records that are to be taken up for restoration and conservation are at NAI’s head office in Delhi, Lahore Shed in Jaisalmer House, its Bhopal regional office and record centres in Jaipur, Bhubaneswar and Puducherry.

The officials privy to the process said that all the documents would be handled with great care as some of them have illustrations and charts created with ancient ink and vegetable dyes. Hence, the conservation carries a great amount of risk as they might get oxidised or reduced with effect of chemical or treatment.

The NAI was originally started as the Imperial Record Department in 1891 in Kolkata; the then capital of British India. Besides several court orders and treaties signed by Mughal emperors and the British Empire, it holds a vast collection of historical records including private papers of eminent persons who have contributed immensely in various fields of public life in the country. The list includes Mahatma Gandhi, first President of India Rajendra Prasad, and other leaders such as Dadabhai Naoroji, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad and Sardar Patel.

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