The Northeast India Audio Visual Archive Nodal Centre of Nar Bahadur Bhandari Government College organized a lecture “Archival Sources for Sikkim Studies: The Royal Records of Sikkim and The Sikkim Palace Archives 1875-1975” on June 22, 2023, at 11 A.M in the College Seminar Hall. The lecture was the first of the Lecture Series to be organized by the Nodal Centre and will subsequently be followed by two more in the month of August and September 2023.
Mr. Karma Sherap Bhutia, a Research Assistant and Archivist, who worked on the British Library project of Sikkim Palace Archives under the Endangered Archives Programme was the invited resource person. Mr. Bhutia is working with the Namgyal Institute of Tibetology on Historical Photos of Sikkim. The lecture was also attended by Dr. D. Purohit, Principal, NBBGC, and Mrs. Doma Lhamu Zimba, Administrative Officer, NBBGC along with the HODs and faculty members of different departments. Similarly, the lecture witnessed the participation of students from various departments, including other colleges and universities. The Northeast India Audio Visual Archive team and other guests from different parts of India joined via the live stream.
Dr. Purohit after facilitating the Resource person addressed the audience highlighting particularly the novelty and need of such a lecture. After the Principal’s address, Dr. Reep Pandi Lepcha, Assistant Professor and Centre Coordinator, acquainted the participants with the Northeast India AV Archive and the core values and objectives behind the endeavour. Furthermore, she also emphasized the increasing scope of archival studies in the Sikkimese context and encouraged the students to take up archiving as a viable career.
Mr. Karma Sherap Bhutia began his lecture with a brief on the definitions and history of Archiving and Archival studies. Elaborating on the two fundamental sources of Sikkimese history – the Royal Records of Sikkim and the Sikkim Palace Archives, Mr. Bhutia highlighted their composition, scope, and present state thereof. Speaking on the technical aspects and the numerous problems associated with archiving, digitizing, and cataloging old records and documents he drew on his own experiences while working on the Sikkim Palace Archives to educate the audience. Furthermore, he delved into several personal collections of historical and cultural significance across Sikkim that are at risk of deterioration due to negligence and lack of funds. Informing the gathered audience that the state still requires a workforce with the necessary skills for archiving and digitization, Mr. Bhutia re-iterated the urgent and emerging scope of an archivist cadre.
The lecture was followed by an interactive session where several questions were posed to the resource person. After the brief interactive session, the Adm. Ma’am shared her thoughts on the event commenting on the changing research trends with readily available sources for research, and urged the student body to take advantage of these resources.