Cosmos Malabaricus highlighting Kerala’s history based on 17th-century Dutch records to be launched

Team Udayavani, Nov 28, 2020, 12:57 PM IST

The Hague: A “treasure trove” of information contained in Dutch historical archives of the 17th century will be brought to light for the first time through a unique “Cosmos Malabaricus” project, which is under consideration of the Indian and the Netherlands authorities, according to an official statement.

The objective of the “Cosmos Malabaricus” (CM) project is to make already digitised Dutch archival material accessible to the widest possible audience, including international and Indian scholars and the people of Kerala through translation and publication of summaries in English, the Indian embassy here said in a statement.

These records contain a “treasure trove” of information regarding the political and military organisations, dynastic developments, economic matters, social and religious aspects of Kerala, it said.

“The material is written in classical Dutch language of the 17th century and is available in Kerala, Tamil Nadu and the Netherlands,” it said.

“It is a treasure trove and will be of immense value to scholars and people in general,” an official said.

It contains information relating to the political and military organisation, dynastic developments, economic matters, relations between states and various cultural, social and religious aspects of Kerala (Malabar) society during the period 1643-1852, the statement said.

The seven year collaboration to shed light into the history of Kerala using archival material pertaining to the Dutch East India Company available in India and the Netherlands was discussed between various stakeholders in an online discussion held on Friday at the initiative of the Indian Embassy.

“The CM project aims to train young scholars in both countries in classical Dutch to transcribe, translate and edit a selection of these sources and produce a series of publications,” it said.

The CM project also follows on the agreement concluded between National Archives of the Netherlands and Kerala State Archives for the digitalisation of Dutch records in Kerala during the State visit of King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands to India in October 2019.

“An MoU is currently under discussion between Leiden University, Kerala Council for Historical Research, Sree Sankaracharya University of Sanskrit Studies, National Archives of the Netherlands and the State Archives Department, Kerala Government,” the statement said.

Venu Rajamony, Ambassador of India to the Netherlands, Arjen Uijterlinde, Ambassador for International Cultural Cooperation, Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Barbera Wolfensberger, Director-General Culture and Media, Dutch Ministry for Education, Culture and Science and Prof Carel Stolker, Rector Magnificus, Leiden University participated in the discussion.

Marens Engelhard, Director, National Archives of the Netherlands; Prof Michael Tharakan, Chairperson, Kerala Council for Historical Relations; Prof Dharmarajan Adat, Vice Chancellor, Sree Sankaracharya University of Sanskrit Studies; Prof Jos Gommans, Project Initiator, Leiden University and Wicher Slagter, First Secretary (Culture) from the Embassy of the Netherlands were also among the participants.

“The participants welcomed the CM project and thanked Ambassador Rajamony for his initiative and contribution to the CM project. They also commended his immense efforts over the last few years to advance Indo-Dutch relations in the field of education and culture,” it added.

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