The only digital library on rare history books at Sabarna Sangrahasala in Barisha is becoming increasing popular among scholars in the city.
The digital version of 500 books lying in the libraries of different universities have been compiled and kept in PDF format here. One can use the library free of cost. The library is being run by Sabarna Roy Chowdhury Paribar Parishad. The universities, where these books have been kept are Oxford, University of Michigan, California, Stanford and Osmania.
It may be recalled that the descendants of Sabarna Roy Chowdhury and the son-in-law of Job Charnock had signed the right to rent agreement in 1698, four years after Charnock’s death.
The oldest book in the library is The Diary of William Hedges written in 1682. Hedges had sharp differences with Charnock. A rare book ‘Indian Mutiny 1857’ by Col GB Malison and published in 1891 has been kept here. One can also find ‘A New Account of the East Indies’ by Captain Alexander Halilton. ‘Livingstone — lost and found’ by Henry Morton Stanley published in 1873 gets a berth here.
‘The Story of the nations: British India’ by RW Frazer and published in 1896 is also available in the library.
Book lovers may also get a chance to read The English translation of the famous travelogue ‘Si-Yu-Ki’ by Husan Tsang, who visited Harshavardhan’s court by Samuel Beal and published in 1884 is a treasure of the library.
Along with the library, there is also a museum where the entire document which proved that not Charnock but his son-in-law was the person with whom the rent agreement was signed is available.
A table used by John Firinghee, grandfather of Anthony Firinghee is kept at the museum. The Roy Chowdhurys’ were the ‘zaminders’ of the area spreading between Halishahar and Diamond Harbour.
Sixty manuscripts that are more than 400-year-old have been kept in the museum. Grinding wheels built in 1840 and 1845 are kept in the museum. Debarshi Roy Chowdhury, curator and librarian, said the first bricks that were used to set up houses in Kolkata had been preserved.
Other important artifacts are various things used by the composer and lyricists of modern Bengali songs Pranab Roy. The Kabuliati Patra of the Mughal period has been preserved and exhibited at the library.