Digitizing Kerala’s Past

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About the project

‘Digitizing Kerala's Past’ is an inter disciplinary initiative by the Kerala Council for Historical Research (KCHR) to survey, store and study the historical, cultural and intellectual legacies of the people of Kerala. The ‘Digitizing Kerala’s past’ project envisages the collection and creation of a digital repository of various sources related to archaeology, anthropology and history, lying scattered across the state and outside it as texts, images, monuments, artifacts, oral traditions ,myths, experiences and memories.

Background

  • The collection of Malayalam proverbs could elicit the participatory involvement of Malayali senior citizens across the world. A comprehensive volume ‘Keralathile Pazhanchollukal’ with 20,345 proverbs and annotations could be published by the KCHR

  • History Walk programmes enabled thousands of school children across the state to walk down the memory lane of their older generation to document, understand the landscape, history and intellectual legacies of their locality.

  • History of Vaniyamkulam village has been published in the name of ‘Vaniyamkulam Panchayath Vijnaneeyam’. Extended academic and organizational support to Local Self Governments/Institutions for writing and mapping the local history and cultural heritage of a village/panchayaths.

  • Another program was sketching the biographies of Kerala women, Adivaasis and Dalits by the students of colleges/ universities of Kerala.

  • In collaboration with the ISRO, Thiruvananthapuram & River Valley Technologies, Thiruvananthapuram an effort was initiated to digitize out of print books, personal documents and old photographs.

  • As part of the Muziris Heritage Project steps have been taken to develop a digital database of historical artifacts excavated from Pattanam near North Paravur, Ernakulam.

  • The archives of Malayalee family histories, collection of writings by Kamala Surayya, data collection on Buddhist and Jain vestiges of Kerala, documenting a day in the life of a Malayalee are some of the relevant projects coming under Conservation of Historical Heritage of Kerala.

The above efforts to engage with the tangible and intangible resources of the Kerala society led to the realization that the digital mode and its vast scope could be utilised to document the historical legacies of the region. ‘Digitizing Kerala’s Past’ envisages documenting all the above efforts to a common digital platform with the active participation of the public.

In the first phase, the following tasks are undertaken.

1. To transcribe the diaries of late Eliamma Matthen.

2. ‘A day in the life of a Malayalee’ (Both first and second person reports).

3. Reporting an event or experience

The project potentials

  • Digitization as a cost effective means of storing historical data.

  • Adoption of user friendly means of digitization.

  • To enable the marginal groups to engage in a 'thinking' project.

  • Encourage voluntary participation.

  • Help to spend quality time regarding our cultural roots.