In June 2018, Dr Mahendra Khadgawat, Director, Rajasthan State Archives, visited London in order to hold a series of meetings with myself, Prof. Christoph Werner (Co-I) and staff in the South Asia section of the British Library. This was a highly productive visit, during which we discussed the possibilities of future collaboration, both for research, and for digitisation efforts relevant to the project.
The Rajasthan State Archives has a magnificent collections of Persian documents, derived from the Rajput dynasties that once acted as nobles-cum-officials (mansabdars) for the Mughal Empire. These include gorgeous imperial decrees (farmans) with beautiful floral borders; among which are urgent communication between emperor Shah Jahan and Raja Jai Singh during the battle of succession that led to Emperor Alamgir’s coronation in 1658. The Rajasthan State Archives has been pursuing a unique publication programme, whereby high quality images of selected Persian documents are published, together with their Devanagri transcription and Hindi translation. It is also digitising the mass of its documents, both Persian and Rajasthani, which is accessible via the archives online portal. Besides being a wonderful tool for researchers, it is also a highly democratic programme, ensuring access by the average Indian citizens to title deeds that establish their rights.
Dr Khadgawat also offered a very comprehensive presentation of the RSA’s enormous digitisation programme to the British Library’s South Asia team. This was organised, on behalf of the British Library, by Dr Nur Sobers-Khan, and led to very interesting discussions about future collaborative possibilities.
Dr. Khadgawat has kindly written a formal report on his visit, which is attached below.
The Forms of Law project is planning an intensive reading and research workshop in Bikaner in December 2018.