Archiving the records

Nations with deep sense of history have maintained archives that are the repository of all important records of history and happenings. The archives are the primary source of information on important and sensitive documents, records, resolutions, treaties, agreements and other documents. They enjoy enormous importance for the historians and researches who cull out material for their historical writings from these archives. With the passage of time, all big nations have begun to realise the importance of archiving the recording particularly when in a scientific age, so many wonderful and extra ordinarily important things are happening around us. In this field, European countries in general and Great Britain and Russia in particular have enriched their archives with immensely valuable records and documents which is a treat to the historians. Not only that as imperial and colonial powers, they took away very valuable records from the colonized countries and secured it in their archives and saved it from wanton destruction. On the other hand some Asiatic countries have wantonly underestimated the value of their history and have failed to archive their historical fund.
In our State the Archives Department was established during the reign of Maharaja Ranbir Singh. He evinced great interest in cultural and literary activities and thus laid the foundation of an important department that was expected to be the historical repository of the State. Some years ago, the need was felt for some particular document pertaining to Power Development Department. Despite much search the document could not be retrieved. On that basis a decision was taken that all record since 1985 be archived for the historians and researchers. The announcement regarding archiving of every Cabinet decision, Government order of structural importance and other important documents of last 32 years was made on April 22, 2016 by the Minister for Finance, Dr Haseeb Drabu, who was also holding the portfolio of Culture Department at that time.
However, the order of the Government was never implemented in practice. We have information that not a single department has sent archival material to the Department of Archives for safe custody.
What are the reasons for the departmental heads not respect the decision and not to send any document to the Archives? What are the reservations with the departmental heads in not forwarding the documents and MoU or treaties and other relevant material to the Archives Department? One can say that it is more of non-seriousness on the part of departmental heads and other functionaries than to any other reason that documents are not sent to the Archives Department
It is regrettable that the record of 32 years of our contemporary history remains locked up in the files in the Secretariat and is not shifted to the Achieves Department where it would be maintained according to internationally recognized system of archiving and keeping the material safe. Important Cabinet decisions, resolutions, MoU and administrative directives are conveyed through the General Administration Department. It is primarily the duty of the GAD to make sure that all record is forwarded to the Archives Department.
Al that can be said at this stage is that archiving of records should be undertaken right now without a day’s delay and the Government should draw a timeline by which all material worthy to be archived is forwarded to Archives Department for safe custody.


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