Now, JNU goes on record

University talk

Now, JNU goes on record

Always in limelight with its political movements, JNU is  ready to document its history now. Forty-four years after Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) was established, the left-leaning varsity has started the process of archiving its history. 22000 PhD thesis, research papers and books are being digitised to form a database of academic work done here.

Besides, the institute has also asked members of the Communist and Socialist parties, its faculty and students to donate personal papers, diaries, books, collections and photographs related to JNU.

The aim is to document the history of the varsity as well as leftist political movements associated with it. JNU Vice-Chancellor S K Sopory informed us, “At the moment, our management has initiated two programmes to record the university’s history. First, we have already digitised at least 20,000 PhD thesis, and more research work and faculty books along with the history of the institution will be digitised in the coming months. Second, is an initiative by the Centre for Historical Studies (CHS) to compile memorabilia for the archive to be named after PC Joshi, the first General Secretary of the Communist Party of India.”

The archive will be named after veteran communist Joshi as it was the collection of documents he had amassed during his lifetime which became the basis for the archives on contemporary history at JNU. This archive was established on December 1, 1970 and after his death in 1980, the task remained unfinished.

“The idea is to document how things have evolved at JNU and create a total institutional memory within the next one year,” the VC adds. Students and faculty have enthusiastically taken up the work of compiling this memorabilia.

They have started collecting papers on the students’ movements in JNU, the work of its student unions over the years and students leaders who went on to assume important roles in Indian politics. Besides, they have invited donations of personal papers, diaries, books, collections and photographs from members of the Communist and Socialist parties.

During a recent meeting of the former presidents of the JNU Students’ Union, Professor Janaki Nair of CHS also made a request to the alumni to contribute historical material for the archive.

Ruchira Sen from the School of Social Sciences said, “The Left has such a rich legacy in JNU along with the anti-Emergency movement, the students’ movement. The digitisation of JNU history will help to commemorate that legacy.”

Chief Advisor, Alumni Affairs of JNU, Professor GJV Prasad said though the main focus of this archive was documenting the Left movement in India, it is pertinent to document JNU’s own history as a Left-leaning campus.

The home page reads, “The archive is committed to preserving the history of the entire spectrum of the Indian Left, from the beginning of the 20th Century. It has no party affiliation and will preserve and use these materials for bonafide scholarly purposes.”

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