KMC launches country’s first municipal archive

In a bid to preserve and narrate the over four centuries old history and evolution of Kolkata, the Kolkata Municipal Corporation authorities have launched a comprehensive archive, complete with rare photographs, texts and digital record.

Taken to be India’s first municipal archive, the ‘Amal Home Digital Archive’ has been developed and curated by the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC).

Primarily sourced from the Calcutta Municipal Gazette, published by the civic body since 1924, the content offers insight into India’s freedom struggle through letters and speeches of great personalities like Mahatma Gandhi, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose and Rabindranath Tagore.

It is named after Amal Home, a tribute to the founder-editor of the Gazette. The records date back to the 17th Century and chronicle the society, economics, the British rule, freedom struggle and other issues during the course of the centuries.

Other nuggets include the original sale deed that shows how much the East India Company paid to purchase the three villages of Sutanuti, Gobindapur and Kolikata, that eventually formed the present day Kolkata.

The archive also contains contributions by researchers, publishers and citizens, who came forward to help with its making.

Since it is India’s first archive built by a civic body, the process involves people from across India who can offer any historical data, photographs of the city.

It also consists of documents related to municipalities in undivided Indian towns, now in Bangladesh, like Dhaka, Rajsahi, Khulna, Barishal, Chittagong and cities which are now in Pakistan like Lahore, Karachi and also Mumbai, Surat, Chennai and Chandannagore which was the French colony in India.