GUWAHATI, May 11: Chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Thursday ceremonially dedicated ‘Digitizing Asom’, a community project aimed at digitisation of rare Assamese journals and books published between 1813 and 1970, for public use at an event organised at the Janata Bhawan premises.
An initiative of the Nanda Talukdar Foundation and supported by the Assam Jatiya Bidyalay Educational & Socio-Economic Trust, Digitizing Asom is aimed at digitising every possible rare Assamese language book and journal, regardless of their location, and making them available to the public for posterity through the website www.assamarchive.org that can be accessed free-of-cost with a simple log-in process. In the first phase of the project, that is, the portion launched on Thursday, journals published between 1840 and 1970 have been included encompassing 3,071 editions of as many as 161 journals with a total of 2,45,680 pages. The second phase of the project, under process, shall cover books published between 1813 and 1962.
Addressing the event, chief minister Sarma said launch of Digitizing Asom would prove decisive in conferring the world of Assamese literature its rightful exalted status in days to come.
“Mrinal Talukdar, the secretary of Nanda Talukdar Foundation, deserves applause from all sections of society for his role in the project which he has been painstakingly leading from the front for the past two decades,” the chief minister said.
Referring to the 19th century as the era that led to a new dawn for Assamese literature, chief minister Sarma credited literary stalwarts such as Lakshminath Bezbaruah, Chandra Kumar Agarwala and Hemchandra Goswami for its forward march. The 20th century brought with itself greater avenues for growth of Assamese literature, the chief minister added.
Referring to the 21st century as the “digital era”, chief minister Sarma said digitizing rare Assamese literary works would go a long way in preserving such remarkable works for ages. The coming generations would be able to appreciate the works of literary gems in the Assamese language through such initiatives, the chief minister added.
Stating that a large number of literary works have not been digitized under the first phase of the project as many such journals, books are no longer available in the public domain, chief minister Sarma appealed to members of the general public in possession of such rare works to come forward so that all books can be digitized. The chief minister also assured of all necessary support from the government, including financial, towards Digitizing Asom.
The chief minister also spoke about the efforts of the government of Assam at using digitization for efficient delivery of public services such Mission Sadbhavna, among others. From June 1, all files in offices of deputy commissioner and the directorates shall be processed only in digital format, the chief minister added.
Thursday’s event was also attended by Dr Dilip Dutta Choudhury, the chairman of Assam Jatiyo Bidyalay Educational & Socio-Economic Trust, and Dr Narayan Sarma, its secretary.