Finding Our Past: 3 Digital Archives Curating Indian History & Heritage

Finding Our Past: 3 Digital Archives Curating Indian History & Heritage
(L) Sarmaya ; Itihaass (R)

Much of the culture around us is, in fact, dictated by history. Of course, many of its aspects evolved over time as people bent them into desirable practices, but some still stood the test of time, and reflect in our daily lives even today –– such as some of our languages, clothes, monuments, and more.

We may only remember people and places gone by through their documentation and archiving. Not solely for history buffs, these little glimpses into the past are more than a memory –– they provide context to our present and future. In a holistic culture as diverse as India’s, these memory archives are invaluable.

Impossible for everyone to make their way to physical museums to soak in the heritage, there are several digital archives that are bringing historical accounts directly into your home. Let’s take a look at a few of them.

I. Dastaan-e-Awadh

Curated by Aditi Behl, this digital archive is all about pre-colonial and colonial Awadh history and literature, in particular. Awadh history has not been given its due credit and attention with many unaware of the time period, culture, and people.

Exploring everything from geography to politics, and historical events to art, Dastaan-e-Awadh is a hands-on approach to bringing Awadh to the fore of Indian history and its tales. Its literature features also give us a deep insight into the region’s socio-cultural situations.

Find Dastaan-e-Awadh here.

Image Courtesy: Victoria and Albert Museum, London (via Dastaan-e-Awadh)

II. Itihaass

Tracing Indian history and heritage through more than documented pieces, Itihaass uses weapons, armour, and more to explore a time gone by. Their eye for extracting information from art and architecture gives us a generous insight to understand the intricacies of the past.

Rightfully named Itihaass, the digital archive opens up a world of knowledge on all things Indian history in a way that respects the heritage of the time, and is nuanced enough to be able to put across its message in a rather easy-to-consume manner.

Find Itihaass here.

III. Sarmaya

A museum without boundaries, Sarmaya exposes us to ‘art, artefacts, and living traditions from the Indian subcontinent. Delving deep into each feature, Sarmaya’s elaborate historical narration makes for the perfect archive to follow if your curiosity about Indian historical heritage has not yet been satiated.

The all-around approach to the subjects and a layered yet simple method of conveying information make Sarmaya a top pick and a must-follow. The attention to detail and quest to be accurate impresses us and is an example of the kind of narration and voice India needs for its archives, especially the digital ones.

Find Sarmaya here.

Image Courtesy: Sarmaya Art Foundation

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