India/ 4.2 Specific policy issues and recent debates  

4.2.11 New technologies and digitalisation in the arts and culture

Cinema: Although there has been growing concern at the decaying state of India’s celluloid heritage, as represented both in the documentary cinema with the Films Division  of India (FDI) and fiction cinema with the National Film Archive of India (NFAI), it was only when Indian filmmaker (and winner of India’s highest award for cinema, the Dadasaheb Phalke award) Mrinal Sen publicly complained in 2009 that his retrospective at the Cannes International Film Festival was cancelled due to poor quality of prints,[1] that the Government of India announced a major digitisation initiative that would restore up to 500 films with the National Film Development Corporation and a like number with the NFAI, the Children’s Film Society and the FDI. 

Digitisation for conservation: The major digitisation work in the arts for conservation done by the Government is with the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA), its leading agency attempting large-scale digitisation of art legacies through its Kalasampda Digital Library where it is making available online archival material, photographs, documentation, research papers, reports and other material from its collection.  The IGNCA’s recent collaboration with the Manipal Centre for Philosophy and the Humanities, called Archive of Indian Music(AIM)[2], has only recently been launched. 

The National Mission for Manuscripts was established in 2003, by the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, Government of India to promote manuscript conservation, manuscript digitisation and scholarship through manuscript studies and workshops. These manuscripts vary in the theme, aesthetic, calligraphy, illumination and illustration, language, script and texture. The project aims to create a database of manuscripts by locating, documenting and preserving manuscripts in a variety of places like universities, libraries, temples, mathas (Hindu seminaries), madrasas (Islamic seminaries), monasteries and private collections through the Manuscript Resource Centres and Manuscript Conservation Centres that were established in all the states of the country.

Archives of Indian Literature: The Sahitya Akademi has launched this initiative in 1997 to collect and preserve material connected with writers and literature like manuscripts, photographs, audio recordings, video recordings and portraits, etc. The Akademi has commissioned 45 video documentaries on the lives of eminent Indian authors as part of the project.


Chapter published: 22-04-2014