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Collage of Pictures from PDL
Bhadon 543; August 2011 Newsletter
“All that mankind has done, thought or been: it is lying, as in magic preservation, in the pages of books.“
-Thomas Carlyle

This is the newsletter of Panjab Digital Library (PDL): the virtual home of more than 6 million pages of digitized books, manuscripts, newspapers and works of art from the Panjab. We want to share with you the vast resources and knowledge which Panjab Digital Library is seeking to make available to scholars, historians, and the simply curious, across the globe. For too long the history of the Panjab has been threatened by the destructive forces of nature and humans. Chaos as a result of weather, war, migration, and old-fashioned forgetfulness or neglect can mean that whole chunks of history are lost forever. Our mission at PDL is to stand as a force for archive, for preservation, for memory and for history, by digitizing anything and everything we come across. We want to use this newsletter to share updates, new additions and stories with the most important part of PDL—you, our users.
In this Issue
The Digital Scorecard
From Davinder's Desk
Projects In the Scanner
How Can You help?
THANKS to our Donors
The Digital Scorecard
What you can find in the Panjab Digital Library archives as of August:
• 6 million pages digitized
Manuscript Gurbani• 4,240 Manuscripts
• 8,223 books
• 3,990 issues of periodicals
• 25,578 issues of newspapers
• 9,152 photographs
• 248,000 legal documents
• 168 hours of video recordings
From the Desk of Davinder Pal Singh (Executive Director)

Fort in Burail Village in ChandigarhA few years ago, Dr. Surinder Singh and I went to photograph a fort in Burail village, located in the middle of Chandigarh. As I was taking pictures, Dr. Surinder Singh got to talking with some young boys who were playing cricket nearby. They said there was an old man in the village who talks about the fort quite often named Giani Ravinder Singh. We followed the boys through the narrow lanes of Burail village as they led us to the man’s house. Upon invited into the house, I momentarily forgot about the fort entirely as the archivist in me jumped for joy upon seeing that Giani ji’s house was fully loaded with stacks of newspapers!

During our visit, we did talk about the fort and it came out that he was a descendent of the Sikh Army of Baba Banda Singh Bahadur, who had attacked and captured the fort back circa 1711. I listened attentively to Giani ji, but my mind was always on the newspapers sitting around me.

I returned to his house the following day, this time armed with my laptop. Using the computer, I was able to show Giani ji the work of digital preservation which PDL has been engaged in for the past three years. Astonished, he told me that he had lived in this house since 1966 and had kept every newspaper he had ever read. I requested his permission to digitize all the newspapers in his collection, assuring him that the Library would take a small portion of his collection every week to digitize, and that they would all be returned. In response to this request, he smiled and said, ‘Davinder, I have found my heir.’ He told me that PDL was welcome to keep all of the newspapers forever.

Over the next couple of weeks, we packed all the newspapers and brought them to our office where we arranged them according to date. The collection included Akali Patrika, Ajit and Urdu Editions of Panjab Kesri. The newspapers spanning 1966 to 2005, included coverage of the landmark events such as the martyrdom of Darshan Singh Pheruman, the wars between India and Pakistan, the birth of Bangladesh, reporting on the economy of Panjab, the vaisakhi of 1978, and the events of 1984. Immediately we organized an exhibition of the newspapers at Chandigarh which over 20,000 people visited in just three days. Later all the newspapers were digitized, and the original copies are part of PDL’s physical archive.

It was Gianiji’s vision and understanding of the changing times that he was able to understand the power of digitization that he not only agreed to allow us to digitize them but even to keep them for posterity. Gianiji died in 2007, but he lives on through his newspapers and continues to inspire PDL.

Projects In the Scanner
Several people have been willing to open their personal libraries to PDL’s scanners. Some of the collections were so rich, that we have been working on them for the last two years! The list below will give you a peep into the type of libraries and books being digitized at this moment:
Documents awaiting Digitization• SGPC
• Dr. Harnam Singh Shan
• Baba Sarabjot Singh Bedi
• Gurdev Singh Sidhu
• Bhayee Sikander Singh
• Ajit, Jalandhar
• Government Museum Chandigarh
• Gurjeet Singh Cheema (Retd. IAS)
How Can You help?
Spread awareness. Tell more people about us. Send the link to this newsletter, to our website, to our facebook
Use the vast resources of PDL for an article, a research project or an academic paper you’re writing.
Donate Money. One Dollar. That’s all it takes to push a project a little further ahead. We’re serious: One Dollar.
Submit documents for digitization. Enrich our collection and the world’s understanding of the Panjab and her people. Submissions can be returned upon request.
A Special THANK YOU to all our donors and supporters.

Without your contributions to PDL, this organization’s progress would be virtually impossible!
And a very special thank you this month to all the contributors who helped PDL exceed our goal of securing the down payment on a 50-year lease in a new office space for our operations.

$10,000+ Donors
Gani Kaur & Jodha Singh (Anandpur Sahib)
Munshi Bishan Singh Kochhar Foundation (New York)
Ziba, Inc. (California)
Jatinder Kaur & Harvinder Singh (Glasgow)
$5,000+ Donors
Anupreet Kaur & Jaswinder Singh Chadha (New Jersey)
Sawhney Family Foundation (Massachusetts)
Achint Kaur & Mandhir Singh (New Jersey)
Parminder Kaur & Jotinder Singh Mann (British Columbia)
Manpreet Kaur & Arinder Singh Chadha (California)
Bonus Feature: Check out this great article in India Today about PDL's efforts!
Revealing the Invisible Heritage of Panjab
Panjab Digital Library
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