Tuesday, 26 November 2013

The rare Peshwa Daftar

One of the most well-known archives in India is the Peshwa Daftar, which is also called the Pune archives.
As the name itself suggests, the archives are located in Pune and a majority of the archives belong to the Peshwa period. Since, the records and archives were collected and indexed during the Peshwa period, they came to be called as Peshwa Daftar.
The Peshwas, whose headquarters was at Pune, maintained a separate establishment for records and administrative purposes and the British continued with the Daftar after they defeated the Peshwas in 1818.
Today, the Daftar is housed in an old granite building which houses the State documents of the Peshwa Government. These documents are kept in 39,000 bundles called Rumals.
The archives are located in a building opposite the council hall and it is often described as a storehouse of old and rare documents. The archives even has documents dating back to the period of Chatrapati Shivaji.
The building houses over four crore documents and of them three lakhs are classified as rare manuscripts.
When the Peshwas were defeated, the then British Governor Mountstuart Elphinstone took over the Peshwa Daftar and decided to preserve the documents. The British then constituted a Imam Commission to look into land records and documents of the Peshwa Kingdom and also suggest measures about preserving these documents. By 1863, the Inam Commission had concluded its task and it gave a report. The British then decided that the documents verified and drafted by the committee should be kept along with the Peshwa Daftar in Nana Wada, in central Pune. To this day, these documents are part of the archives.
The British government finalised the design for the new building (Till the new building was completed., the archives were kept at Nana Wada building) in 1884 and the then under secretary, W A Baker, sanctioned Rs 1,14,335 towards the construction of the building.
The building has eight big halls meant for preserving documents. A special tower houses a water tank that was made for storing water in case a fire broke out in the building. The documents were shifted to this building from Nana Wada on February 6, 1890.
The archives today sees a rush of people. No, the people do not come here to study. They want  copies of old land records.
This is so as most land records are found in the Inam Commission Enquiry Daftar that has 7,864 rumals. If you need your family's s land rights claims verified and attested, the archives is the place. To obtain a Inam Commission document, you have to pay an Rs. 250 fee. The copies are provided in a month’s time.
Most records are in the Modi script. In the Inam section, one can find papers from the times of Shivaji, the Adilashahs of Bijapur and the Nizamdshahs of Ahmadnagar.
The Inam Commission papers comprise of land records given as inams or gifts by the Marathas. Since the Marathas ruled over large parts of south India, the records are many. The Imam Commission was formed in 1843 when the British rulers wanted to investigate and adjudicate on inams. In course of investigations, the Commission collected papers from individuals, officers, watandars and sanad holders.
The collection at the Archives has sanads, nivadapatras, mahzars and kaifiyats along with accounts of other areas. The archives need to be preserved so that we can read about our forefathers and the history of a place.
The archives has plans to digitalise its vast collection. There are also plans to refurbish, renovate and repair the building housing the archives. This is different from the National Film Archives, which is also headquartered at Pune.

Pune is also home to the archives belonging to the Tata group. It contains thousands of documents, letters, agreements, maps, press clippings, audio and video recordings, awards, trophies, medals, citations, paintings, and memorabilia relating to the House of Tatas.

1 comment:

  1. Can you have any contact from this place? Want to visit it...