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Suniti Kumar Chatterjee Collection in Kala Nidhi

In IGNCA, Kala Nidhi, the major repository of primary and secondary material relating to the arts, has one of the biggest libraries in the country concentrating on the broad area of humanities and the arts. The acquisitions in the library comprise primary material – textual and audio-visual – as well as secondary sources on different disciplines in the field of arts.

A major area of acquisition of textual sources in Kala Nidhi pertains to contributions of the personal collections of eminent scholars and artists to its library. IGNCA considers that a scholar’s personal collection of books is a reflection of his mind. Like a craftsman’s tool, the library of a scholar is the extension of his personality. This is the reason why IGNCA has given special emphasis on procuring the collections of eminent scholars and artists who have made singular contributions to the different fields of study and artistic activity.

Among the acquisitions of IGNCA is a monumental collection belonging to Prof. Suniti Kumar Chajjterjee (1890-1977). A multi-disciplinary scholar, polymath, philologist and connoisseur of art, he was the Professor of Linguistics and Languages at the University of Calcutta for thirty years. He was a confluence of world culture, being well versed in Sanskrit, Greek, Gothic, Avesta, Arabic, Bengali and Hindi. He was written a number of scholarly books and papers on a wide variety of topics, some of them being Indian Culture, Jayadeva, Languages and the Linguistic Problem, Original Development of Bengali Language, Guru Govind singh, Religous and Cultural Integration of India. He was the recipient of numerable awards honoris causa, D. Litt., from Rome, Delhi, Visvabharati and Osmania Universities in 1963. Rabindranath Tagore gave him the sobriquet ‘Bhashacharya’.

The Library of Prof. Suniti Kumar Chatterjee which was donated to IGNCA has over 20,000 volumes including books, journals, periodicals, pamphlets and reports covering several languages like English, Bengali, Greek, Russian, Avesta, Chinese, Arabic, Japanese and Hindi. The disciplines covered by these enormous corpus of material range from linguistics, history, art, literature, archaeology etc. There are several voluminous sets of reference material also. The corpus of books include Vedas, Upanishads and their commentaries, the epics, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata in their different versions and editions, Bhagavad Gita, translations of Quran and other texts on religion. There are several volumes of Linguistic Survey of India, Arabian Nights, History of Bengal and many collections relating Rabindranath Tagore and his family. The section also has books relating to every aspect of the life and culture of people from all over the world.

This collection, known as Prof. Suniti Kumar Chatterjee collection, is housed in a separate section in IGNCA. A memorial lecture ahs been instituted in the Centre in his name and a Fellowship would be awarded for research in the field of humanities too commemorate this illustrious scholar.


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