Kultur- und Religionsgeschichte Südasiens
Cultural and Religious History of South Asia



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Mo. 22nd Nov., 2021
09:00-10:30 Hrs (CET Germany)
01:30-03:00 pm (IST India)
5:00-6:30 pm (JST Japan)

Meeting ID: 826 6024 3111
Passcode: pothi


Joint Research Group: Manuscriptology and Digital Humanities
Co-organized with Digital Archive Section, Shin Buddhist Comprehensive Research Institute, Otani University, Kyoto

Digitizing Manuscripts and Archival Sources: Three Corpora from North India

Prof. Dr. Monika Boehm-Tettelbach
(Heidelberg University)

The report addresses three projects of the digitization of manuscripts and archival documents connected with ex officio and individual activities at the South Asia Institute. It describes the scope, contents matter and relevance of the material, points to examples of completed or current research based on it, and the requirements for making the material accessible for research. It also addresses copyright issues involved. The projects are:

  1. The digitized films of the Callewaert Collection. This collection covers a good number of the earliest manuscripts of the compositions mainly of the Sants of North India. The earliest manuscript in the collection is of the year 1615.
  2. The archive of the militant Rāmānandīs of Jaipur. This was filmed by the author. A handlist of it exists, and select items have been studied and the results published. The exstant digital version of the films serves quick general orientation, but the films need to be digitized again to obtain a sufficiently high resolution. The material reflects the interaction of the militant Rāmānandīs with the political power and religious orders between the end of the eighteenth century and the earlier part of the twentieth century. This implies military as well as doctrinal, ritual and intersectarian issues in a period marked by the growing impact of the colonial state.
    Apart from documents, the collection contains also a small number of vernacular and Sanskrit manuscripts, in their sum reflecting the religious identity of those Rāmānandīs.
  3. Archival sources mainly of the eighteenth and ninenteenth centuries from the Rajasthan State Archives at Bikaner (RSA). In principle, these come under the current project of digitization of the RSA holdings. In the first place, however, the RSA‘s digital resources are currently not accessible, and, secondly, the xerox copies of these in the author’s private collection facilitate research by being thematically ranged, classified and identified by captions. The material covers the relationship of the court of Jaipur with the religious orders. The copied material awaits digitization.

Prof. Dr. Monika Boehm-Tettelbach is professor emeritus at the Modern South Asian Languages and Literatures department of the South Asia Institute, Heidelberg University.


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