The Derozio Anglo-Indian Research Collection at the Central Library, University of Calcutta
The Derozio Anglo-Indian Research Collection at Central Library, University of Calcutta
The Derozio Anglo-Indian Research Collection at the 3rd floor of Central Library, University of Calcutta, was inaugurated by the Hon’ble Vice-Chancellor of the University on 8 January 2013. That the collection is housed in Kolkata is fitting, since historically the city has been home to the largest Anglo-Indian population in colonial as well as post-colonial times.
This unique repository has been created to ensure that books, documents, letters, etc., pertinent to the lives and experiences of Anglo-Indians past and present, are preserved for posterity, to serve the needs of both general or scholarly interest in Anglo-Indians. The collection, because of its very comprehensive holdings, as well as its accessible location at the University of Calcutta, is invaluable serving the growing academic, as well as more general interest, in the study of Anglo-Indians in India and abroad.
The collection includes almost every publication on and by Anglo-Indians, including doctoral dissertations, rare books and ephemera. It is anticipated that the collection will be augmented with additional gifts of pertinent materials. This collection of materials on Anglo-Indians has been aptly named after the nineteenth century Kolkatan, Henry Louis Vivian Derozio (1809–1831), Anglo-Indian poet, iconoclast and nationalist, who in a short and meteoric life, left his mark, becoming assistant headmaster of Hindu College (later Presidency College and now Presidency University). An ardent nationalist, Derozio was a radical thinker and one of the first Indian educators to disseminate Western learning and science among the young men of Bengal. His influence lived on among his former students, who came to be known as Young Bengal, and many of whom became prominent in social reform, law, and journalism.
The idea for the repository germinated with Blair Williams of New Jersey, whose very valuable and comprehensive collection, which he has gifted in its entirety, provides the current corpus of the collection. The idea was followed through by Dolores Chew of Montreal, herself a doctoral graduate in history of the University, with the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Calcutta, Professor Suranjan Das. Prof. Das, with foresight, recognized the worthiness of the project and then placed the matter in the hands of the University Librarian of the University of Calcutta, Dr. Soumitra Sarkar who, also recognizing the significance of this endeavor, gave it his full support and cooperation. From the start, the project could not have proceeded without the active assistance of Prof. Selvyn Jussy, Linguistics Department, University of Calcutta.