Translate foreign documents for better understanding of India

Thursday, Mar 10, 2016,17:00 IST By Metrovaartha A A A

New Delhi | Noted historian Professor Surendra Gopal today urged the Centre to set up a committee to authorise translation of a few documents related to the country’s historical events available in foreign languages, into English for a better understanding of India’s history.

Gopal said this while delivering a ’126th Foundation Day Lecture’ on ‘Some Foreign Archives and India’s History’. Various documents which could throw light on Indian history are available in Dutch, French and Portuguese in their respective countries, the Historian said, adding these countries had historical relations with India. I would suggest the government to form a committee which should have experts of different languages. They should recommend publications of Dutch, French and Portuguese documents into English to understand our history, he said.

Citing an example, he said, The Portuguese government preserved documents are useful for the study of business and diplomatic history and should be translated for wider use. Gopal also lauded the role of National Archives in understanding Indian history better and said it makes various documents available which help create a clearer picture of Indian history. With the establishment of Archives, we have better understanding of our history.

As there was no Archives before 19th century, we don’t have clear understanding of the history, he said. Another reason for lack of understanding of history, he said, was that people in ancient times used to write on leaves which could not be stored for future reference. The lecture is part of 125th foundation year celebrations of National Archives of India, which was established on March 11, 1891 at Calcutta (Kolkata) as the Imperial Record Department.