Synopsis: Many experts have raised their concerns on the demolition of the National Archives of India’s Annexe building. There is a need for public scrutiny and public consultation on this matter.
- A part of the National Archives of India (NAI) complex, Annexe building, is planned to be demolished during the Central Vista redevelopment project.
- The lack of clarity around the plans for preservation, transfer, and access of these national records is the cause of concern.
Significance of National Archives of India
- The National record archives reportedly houses several public records, private papers, departmental records etc.
- Archives are essential to the relationship between a state and its citizens. For instance, the production, storage, and use of information about the population is central to the work of governance.
- The NAI has a broader, material relevance. For instance, people looking for land records, bureaucrats looking for an older government order, a lawyer seeking a legal precedent are dependent on NAI.
- Finally, it supports Historical research. Thus, any changes to the National Archives of India (NAI) will impact the future of historical research.
What is the current issue?
- Lack of Transparency: For example, the National Archives’ website does not have notification about the pending demolition, plans for the safe removal of materials etc.,
- Lack of Public consultation: For instance, when the Federal Government of the United States decided to move the National Archive, there were extensive public consultations. No such measures were taken in India.
- Lack of public access: The British Library is the only alternative repositories for archival resources for colonial India. If the NAI is inaccessible for an indefinite period, scholars who have the privilege of access to the British Library, will have exclusive rights to write about Indian history. It perpetuates differential access among students, researchers and scholars located in India and abroad.
Source: Indian Express