Kala Nidhi – An Expanding Endeavour

The Kala Nidhi Division of IGNCA celebrated its foundation day on Basant Panchami. On this occasion T.A.V. Murthy had spelt out various endeavours of this Division, which are summed up here.

As a major repository of reference material relating to the humanities and the arts, the special features of Kala Nidhi include an outstanding Reference Library and Cultural Archives with access to multimedia database and information systems.

Reference Library

The Reference Library of Kala Nidhi has a well-defined programme for acquisitions. In order to play the anchor role for the various academic endeavour of the Centre, Reference Library has acquired 3000 new titles of books, and microfilms and microfiche has reached 10,987 and 1,18,337 respectively. The slide collection has touched the figure of 59,915.


As a part of the ongoing activity of the Centre to encapsulate Indian Cultural Heritage in reprographic form efforts were made with much vigour, as microfilming continued at Varanasi, Pune, Madras, Tanjore and Trivandrum. Alongside new Centres like Arabic and Persian Research Centres, and the Centre of Shri Shankaracharya Mutt, Kanchipuram were added. Today the Centre has 16,476 microfilms rolls which encompasses 28,828 manuscripts spread out in 1,05,99,849 folios.

Moreover, an intensive identification of manuscripts on Gita Govinda was taken up for microfilming from the repositories of Rajasthan State Museum Sansthan, as a first step.

Apart from these a considerable effort was also made for microfilming the Islamic Cultural Heritage material, available at important Centres like Mohd. Peer Shah Dargha, Ahmedabad and other Darghas at Bombay and Gulbarga.


A three-day workshop on Micro-graphics was organised to share the unique experience of IGNCA’s microfilming efforts and also to help upgrade skills of the technical staff, with the support of the Genealogical Society of Utah (USA).


Over 572 slides were acquired from the British Library and 1802 slides from the American Committee on South Asian Art and a special collection on Gita Govinda was commissioned. Around 6218 slides form the Victoria and Albert Museum Collections were duplicated. Moreover documentation of antiquities on display in the Indian Museum, Calcutta, was also taken up. 


The material acquired in the form of books, microfilms, microfiche and slides, was catalogued and arranged in the cabinets for consultation. Over 70,000 Microfilm Rolls and Manual Catalogue Cards were prepared.

Data Base Development and Computerization

An integrated document Imaging System, a unique hardware, was procured with its software for the purpose of archival storage of records. Five PC AT/486 were purchased for different Projects/Academic Works, including at Varanasi.

One important software known as Vidura was developed for Desktop Publishing Programme of IGNCA by the National Centre for Software Technology (NCST), Bomby. At the fist phase scripts, namely, Bengali, Oriya and Tamil were covered. Interestingly, the Vidura Software provides transliteration facility. To facilitate the use of Vidura a two-day workshop was organized which provided a sound exposure of the system to the researcher and computer professional as well. The Workshop was organized with the help of NCST and IIT team of Bombay.

Apart from these four prestigious databases pertaining to manuscripts and library books etc. are being updated completely.

Cultural Archives

This Wing addresses to the acquisition of material, audio-video documentation, and exhibition. The significant acquisitions include Shambhunath Mitra’s photographic documentation of Bengal Terracotta Temples (over 9000 B/W –es) and Surahis of clay of Abdul Majid Ansari.

During the last year an audio-studio has been operationalised which can also be utilized for video recording. Moreover, full-fledged editing facilities in the pro-betacaum format have been provided to meet the requirements of sophisticated post-production work.

On the score of video documentation the following Films were produced:

Film on IGNCA: A documentary, ‘Redefining the Arts’ has been produced under the direction of Arun Kaul, a leading film-maker of India. It introduces, in brief, the objectives and activities of IGNCA. With a running time of 60 minutes, it is in U-matic Hi-band format.

Interview with His Holiness Dalai Lama: An exclusive interview with His Holiness Dalai Lama on the importance of the Buddhist Consecration ceremonies has been recorded as an in-house production.

Bhramar Geet: A ballet, depictingthe viyoga (separation) of the gopis after Lord Krishna’s departure from Gokul to Vrindavan and experiences of Uddhava, an emissary of Lord Krishna, after his interaction with thegopis has been produced by IGNCA. It is devised by Dr. Prem Lata Sharma, with the dance performance of Dr. Ranjana Srivastava.

Tyagesar Kuruvanji: A documentation of the traditional art-form, dedicated to Lord Tyagaraja of Tiruvarur, has been completed by P.R. Thilangam in U-matic Hi-bank.

Munshi Prem Chand – Some Reminiscences: Munshi Prem Chand’s son, Amrit Rai, a man of letters in his own right, recalls personal preminiscences of hs illustrious father. He talks about him as a writer, as a father and as a human being. He was interviewed by Dr. Kapila Vatsyayan.

Documentation of Thang-ta of Manipur: A documentation on Thanga-ta, a traditonal material art-form of Manipur, has been completed in U-matic, Hi-band format format lasting 2 hours. It is directed by A. Syam Sharma, a well known producer, and interviews are conducted by R.K. Singhajit Singh.

Moreover, IGNCA has acquired two series of internationally renowned films: (a) Four films by Prf. Guntha D. Sotheimer and Hennino Stegmuller; and 9b) Six films, featuring Josephh Campbell.

Area Studies:

The three academic wings that fall under Area Studies are Slavic and Central Asian Studies, South East Asian Studies and East Asian Studies.

Slavic and Central Asian Studies:

The academic wing has been focusing on the historical interactions that have characterized relations between Central Asia, Russia and India over the centuries. Keeping this in view it has concentrated on selection of primary and secondary historical source material on Eurasia, to be followed by a research project on ‘Ethnicity and Community in Eurasia’.

Much of the material identified and received was reprographic form from INION as Moscow and St. Petersburg Library, besides commercial channels. Further series of valuable publications of Russian Indologist S.F. Oldenburg were translated for publication.

South East Asian Studies:

This section focuses on the historicla and cultural aspects of Art in the region; a collection is being built up, besides compilation of bibliographies on Dong Son Culture of Vietnam. In addition, lectures by eminent scholars were organized on the subject.

East Asian Studies:

It seeks the holistic approach to the interface between Indian and East Asian Cultures, particularly the Chinese Culture. Our scholars participated in the ‘Cave Art of India’ a seminar jointly organized by IGNCA and Dunhuang Academy in China. The prestigious publication brought out by the East Asian Studies ‘Dunhuang Art through the eyes of Dwan Wenjie’ was presented. Initiatives were taken up with the Research Institute of Longmen Caves in China.

There is a Cultural Exchange Programme with 19 countries, basically dealing with the exchange of scholars, documentation, computerized database and publication. Furthermore, the reports of second UNESCO consultation meeting of specialised Information systems and new working were released, as well as the bibliography.


Newsletter | List of Newsletter ]