Save the AP State Archives: Coalition of Concerned Citizens and Academics

This petition is being circulated by a coalition of concerned citizens, local and international academics and scholars

The historical collections at two major archives in Hyderabad, the Andhra Pradesh Government Oriental Manuscripts Library (APGOML) and the Andhra Pradesh State Archives and Research Institute (APSARI), are under threat in the bifurcation of Telangana and residuary Andhra Pradesh. The institutions’ collections are slated for division between the two new states. These collections have long suffered from neglect, and now face the likelihood of irreparable damage from arbitrary division, handling, and transfer.

Local and international scholars and activists have organized a petition to preserve these historical documents. Our primary concern is for the integrity of the collections and we seek to avoid entanglement in the Telangana/Andhra debates. The petition is aimed, in part, at demonstrating that there is a concerned audience of international scholars and interested parties who care about and use these collections. This wider expression of concern will help support the efforts of local citizens who plan to submit the petition to the Governor before the end of the month.

Please take a moment to add your voice:


About the collections:

The State Archives and Oriental Manuscripts Library hold an invaluable record of Deccan and South Asian history. The APSARI preserves Nizam-era, Mughal, and pre-Mughal Sultanate administrative documents, as well as post-1948 state records. They also hold a collection of rare Persian, Arabic and Urdu manuscripts printed books in their library. The APGOML houses the Nizam-era collection formerly known as the Asafiya Library. It holds materials in an array of languages including Urdu, Persian, Telugu, Arabic, Sanskrit, Kannada, and Hindi across a broad spectrum of genres.

While both archives are at risk, the Oriental Manuscripts Library collection is in particular danger. This sadly underused and fragile collection is amongst the richest manuscript libraries in India. The rare manuscripts held here shed light on the intellectual and literary legacy of the Deccan, including literature in early Deccani Urdu, as well as large holdings in Sufism, the Islamic sciences, alchemy, history and other disciplines. Much of this material is uncatalogued. The minimalist, handwritten record of manuscript titles has discouraged more scholars making use of the institute’s invaluable resources and the collection is largely unexplored.

Below is the text of the petition:

Background: The Andhra Pradesh Reorganization Act (“Telangana Bill”) to bifurcate Andhra Pradesh into two new states, “Telangana” and “residuary Andhra Pradesh,” was finalized on March 1, 2014. The new state boundaries are scheduled to take effect on June 2, 2014. The Act stipulates that the governor will administer Hyderabad as the joint capital of both states until a new capital is named for residuary Andhra Pradesh. This is a period not to exceed ten years. Following the State Chief Minister’s resignation in February, Andhra Pradesh has been under “President’s Rule.” At present, many details of the separation have not been formalized and there is significant uncertainty and confusion surrounding the responsibilities of government officers and employees, including at government-managed research and archival institutions. Both the Andhra Pradesh State Archive and the Government Oriental Manuscript Library are slated for bifurcation and their collections will be divided between Telangana and Residuary Andhra Pradesh.

An Appeal from Research Scholars and the Broader Intellectual Community

We, the undersigned, express our deepest concerns over the troubling method and manner of division currently being initiated at the Andhra Pradesh State Archives and the Andhra Pradesh Government Oriental Manuscripts Library. The dissolution of Andhra Pradesh state and the formation of the new Telangana and Residuary Andhra Pradesh States has created the need to apportion state administrative functions at all levels, including these research institutions. We recognize that the manuscripts, printed books, and records preserved in the State Archives and the Government Oriental Manuscripts Library are invaluable and irreplaceable sources of regional, national, and global history. In particular, the Government Oriental Manuscripts Library deserves special attention as the heir to the historical Asafiya State Central Library collection, which is an invaluable record of Hyderabad’s cosmopolitan history.

The Asafiya Library was founded in the final decades of the Hyderabad princely state thanks to the efforts of Maulvi Syed Hussein Bilgrami, the Nawab Imad-ul-Mulk. His personal library formed the seed of this collection, but it soon became one of the largest and richest collections in the whole of India. In 1967 the oldest and most valuable part of the library, more than 17,000 volumes in Telugu, Urdu, Arabic, Persian and Sanskrit dating from the 7th century through the 19th century, was shifted to the care of the Andhra Pradesh Government Oriental Manuscript Library. This collection reflects the richness and diversity of Hyderabad’s Deccan heritage and should not be carelessly divided. We urge the authorities to treat these materials with the proper sensitivity and consideration they deserve.

In this regard, we humbly petition the governor of the state with three requests:

1. Transparency: We request that the directors of both institutions communicate to the public their overall vision and plan for the separation of these historical materials. This should include a timeline, a list of responsible actors along with their duties and responsibilities, and justifications for the proposed separations.

2. Temporary Advisory Committee: The separation of materials should not be arbitrary or guided by contemporary political concerns. We request the governor to appoint a temporary advisory committee of research scholars and librarians who have expertise on the materials housed in the State Archives and the Manuscripts Library. This committee will be responsible for ensuring the integrity of particular collections and providing its informed and unbiased opinion during the separation process.

3. Funding: Both the State Archives and the Manuscripts Library have suffered from underfunding and a shortage of qualified employees for many years. The collections at both institutions are in a fragile condition and much of the material remains either entirely uncatalogued or minimally catalogued. Without a clear sense of the content and value of their holdings, any bifurcation undertaken will be arbitrary and the materials selected for shifting will be at risk of being destroyed or lost. We request that a special budget be prepared for this project so that both institutions may temporarily expand their skilled staff to meet the requirements of this sensitive undertaking. Given that Hyderabad will remain the joint capital for the next ten years, we hold that there is no need for the immediate separation of these materials. This is a process that will require time and careful consideration. We look on this historic moment as a unique opportunity to re-catalogue and re-assess the holdings of both institutions. This will ensure a proper accounting of their inventory and lead to the informed separation of these invaluable and irreplaceable materials.

This petition represents the concerns and interests of leading research institutes, learned societies, scholars (both local and international), students, journalists, social activists, and concerned members of the public at large. We are in the process of taking an appointment with the governor and this petition will be personally submitted to him by a group of concerned citizens.

Please voice your support by contributing your signature to the list below.


Mukta, A Telangana Women’s Collective: K. Vimala, K. Kirankumari, S. Sandhya, A. Sridevi

Telangana Resource Center: M. Vedakumar

Center for Deccan Studies: Dr. Oudesh Rani Bawa, Sajjad Shahid

Hyderabad History Society: Dr. Anuradha Reddy

Telangana History Society: Sangisetti Srinivas

Telangana Vidyavanthula Vedika: Sridhar Rao Deshpande

Anveshi, Resource Center for Women: Dr. Sunita, Gogu Shyamala, Shahjahana

Muchukunda Foundation: P. Srisailam

Telangana Senior Citizens Association: C.H. Ramulu

Telangana Netizens for Social Justice: K. Jaswanth, K. Karunakar Reddy

Forum For Better Hyderabad: Omim Maneckshaw Debara, M. Vedakumar

INTECH (Hyderabad): Dr. Anuradha Reddy

Former Director, Andhra Pradesh Government Oriental Manuscripts Library: Professor Jayadhir Tirumala Rao

Former Director, Andhra Pradesh State Archives: Dr. Vasant Bawa

(News Coverage):

“Division of cultural assets must involve all stakeholders”4/29/2014



Abhishek Kaicker The AP State Archives are an irreplaceable and invaluable repository for the history of India, much of which is yet to be written. Please support and strengthen the preservation of this vital national cultural resource.
Monika Hirmer
Hannah Archambault
sana rizvi
Shuddhabrata Sengupta
Gautham Reddy
Srinivas Reddy
Krishna Phani
Razak Khan
Rehanna Kheshgi
A Dudney
Kimberly Walters I am an anthropologist at the University of Chicago. Your archives are invaluable to our shared quest for understanding the history of the region. I know that you will take every precautions to best preserve these priceless resources.
Nir Shafir
Alma Coesel we can learn through history
Yasmin Nair
Owen Cornwall
Peter Schmitthenner
Rohit De
Lisa Mitchell, University of Pennsylvania, Dept. of South Asia Studies As someone who has worked with the collections in both the AP State Archives and the GOML, I urge you to ensure that the libraries are divided in an open and transparent manner and that the ongoing financial support of both collections is secure.
Allison Brown
Elizabeth L host
Sravanthi Kollu
Roy S Fischel
ilanit loewy shacham
Kavita Datla Associate Professor of History, Mount Holyoke College
Emma Meyer
Ananya Chakravarti
Velcheru Narayana Rao This is a cultural emergency. Everyone who cares for preserving our paast for our future should give their attention to this isssue. vnr
Harshita Kamath
Rachel R Reynolds Please have scholars with background in archival administration do this work!
Joyce Flueckiger
Scott Kugle
Anna Seastrand
Padma Chirumamilla
Srinivasa Raju Datla We should preserve our heritage
Rebecca Whittington
Dinyar Patel
Luther Obrock
David Boyk
Nikhil Gulati
Sarah Pierce Taylor
Faisal Chaudhry
Andrew Amstutz
Priya Kothari
Christopher How many states it many be but Telugu is one language ane its heart of us. So, pls save these …….
Kellie Powell
Michael J. Schwalbenberg
Giovanni Ciotti
Andrey Klebanov
Florinda De Simini
shahanaz fathima
Kashi Gomez
Sarah Waheed
Ellen Ambrosone
Guen Han
Krissy Rogahn
Kris Anderson
afsar mohammad
Pankaj Jha
amar We need to save our heritage through libraries like this. This is my initiative to safeguard our heritage.
Venugopal Rao N, Editor, Veekshanam, Telugu Monthly Journal of Political Economy and Society
Dr. M.A. Nayeem, Former Research Officer, A.P. State Archives The Oriental Manuscripts Library was formed out of the Persian and Arabic manuscripts from the Asaf Jahi State Central Library in Hyderabad and the A.P. State Archives, so they must be retained here or given back to their parent departments and must not be divided and sent to Andhra.
Peyvand Firouzeh

Pavani Reddy
Kanthi Krishnamurthy
Huizhong Wu
Nicholas Kontovas
Alidost Numan
Alcyon Lord
Projit B. Mukharji
Nicolas Roth
Abhishek Tewari
Rajay Kumar
Emily Beezhold
Amina Steinfels
Karthika Sasikumar
Madhav Machavaram
Amita Vempati
Suresh Kolichala
Krishna Dhullipalla
Vamsi Krishna D
Krishna Raghavan
Moses Tulasi
Ramanand AchantaT.V.Prabhakar




3 thoughts on “Save the AP State Archives: Coalition of Concerned Citizens and Academics”

  1. it is an illusion that the telugu language is one. The andhra state is essentially a glomming of three different subcultures.

    There has been enough andhra domination, so it is better that the three regions separate and go their own ways. It has always been difficult for the downtordden to get rid of those who lord above them.

    I endorse the division of the state, and would have been thankful if it was split into three instead of two. This problem will rear its head in a few years down the line.

    I have no opinon on how the assets/liabilities ought to be divided. Currently, the division is dominated by andhra interests, thus proving over and over the intent of andhra leaders to loot th house, even while having to vacate it.


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