Centuries old iron chest at Sanskrit College & University, rare documents found
A locked iron chest, containing some rare documents and possibly dating back to 200 years, was found at Sanskrit College and University here during a clean-up operation, its Vice-chancellor Soma Bandyopadhyay said on Friday.
She told PTI that the chest, bearing the name of an old UK manufacturer of such chests and caskets, was found on Wednesday in a room closed for a long time during a drive to trace dumped objects which may have archival value.
After unlocking the chest on Friday afternoon, eight sealed envelops were found containing cheque books of banks of the British period, documents of allowances given to widows during the time of Pandit Iswar Chandra Vidyasagar when he was the principal of the institute and initiated the move for women’s empowerment, Bandyopadhyay said.
“Three silver medals and documents regarding assets of the institute were also found in the chest which might throw light on its nearly 200-year old journey,” the VC said.
The clean-up drive was taken as part of the initiative to find out archival objects in the institute and display them at a museum to be set up in the campus of the 185-year-old institute and to commemorate the 200th birth anniversary of Vidyasagar, who was associated with the institute for a long time.
The institute was founded on February 25, 1824 as a college on the basis of a recommendation by British officials, James Prinsep and Thomas Babington Macaulay.
Vidyasagar, best known as the man behind widow remarriage, had been a student of Sanskrit at the College and later went on to serve his alma mater as the principal from 1851 to 1858 taking the institute to a great heights by blended modern Western education with traditional Sanskrit learning.
The institute was upgraded to University status in 2015-16 as The Sanskrit College and University.
Banerjee, who took over as VC in mid-October, said another box was also found in the godown which had earlier been opened and some other papers regarding the endowment of the college in the 19th-early 20th century were found.
“The contents of the two boxes after greater scrutiny by experts will definitely throw up more details about the glorious past of the institute which could inspire the present generation,” she said.