Historical papers in Palace in peril?

Kathmandu, May 24:

The Madan Puraskar Pustakalaya has expressed concern about the security of the historical materials and papers contained in the Narayanhiti Palace in the process of transfer of ownership of the premises once the country is declared a republic by the first sitting of the Constituent Assembly.

In a statement, the library has appealed to the government and related agencies to actively seek the protection of those papers and materials. “These rare documents are the common property of the citizens of Nepal, and should be a matter of grave interest to the government, the intelligentsia and researchers.”

“We know from the reports of Brian Houghton Hodson, a British researcher, that the material of national and international cultural importance contained in the palace predate the unification of Nepal, and go back to the Malla period. These are included in containers known as ‘bada dhadda’, ‘lal dhadda’, ‘lal bakas’, ‘choto dhadda’ and in a room known as the ‘bhitri khopi’. The materials have not been made available to Nepali researchers, other than to historian Baburam Acharya, till now. These papers are of the kind which will help in the understanding the course of national history going as far back as back 2000 years, and they must be catalogued and preserved,” the library quoted historian Dr Ramesh Kumar Dhungel, affiliated to the Centre for Nepal and Asian Studies (CNAS) and advisor to the library as saying.

“There is a danger of the papers being transferred or lost during the process of transition, and we ask the government, CA members, political leaders and alert citizens to be aware of the dangers. We believe that the historical documents contained in Narayanhiti must be accessioned, catalogued, preserved and protected before being made available to the public in all transparency. For this, the responsible agencies of the state must be active, while the library stands ready to assist in the managerial and technical aspects as required,” member-secretary of the library Kanak Mani Dixit said.

The Patan Dhoka-based library is an archive of five decades’ standing involved in cataloguing and preserving historical and contemporary materials for the sake of current use and for posterity.