Published: 19th February 2021
With 1 lakh digitised documents, Cheraman museum allows you to travel to the past
Visitors to Cheraman museum can view these documents through a kiosk where several historical documents have been collected, digitised and preserved for future generations
Muziris Heritage Project (MHP) has digitised over one lakh documents pertaining to the history of Islam in Kerala as part of the Cheraman Islamic History Museum set up on the premises of the Cheraman Juma Masjid in Kodungallur, the first mosque in the country. MHP managing director P M Nowshad said collective effort ensured that several historical documents could be collected, digitised and preserved for future generations.
“We have an Islamic Museum at Cheraman mosque and MHP contributed by preserving documents that shed light on the history of Kerala. Over one lakh documents were indexed, preserved and digitised. We are planning to provide researchers online access to these historical treasures on demand once the MHP board approves it,” he said.
Visitors to Cheraman museum can view these documents through a kiosk. A web-based automated catalogue has already been prepared for the paper, audio, video and sound collections of the digital archives with abstract and index of items in the collection. The traced documents are mainly in four languages -- Arabic, Persian, Arabic-Malayalam and Malayalam.The digitised documents are mainly related to trans-regional trade and the cultural and religious activities of Muslims of Kerala.
These were sourced mostly from archives, mosque libraries and private collections from across the state. Since the Kerala coast had trade links with Arab nations, the documents also provide details of maritime trade, travel, trans-regional networks of traders and scholars and technology transfer. Besides, they give an insight into exchange of cultures and settlements of Arab diaspora on the south-western coast of India.
“We have also made audio-visual documentation of Muslim cuisine, Islamic architecture, attire, Muslim art forms, rituals, customs and life cycle events. There are also rare photographs of early migrants from Malabar to the Gulf countries and Ceylon (present-day Sri Lanka). The project has done an audio documentation of the old Mappila Pattu. We are planning to make an official launch of the digital archives after consulting the government,” Nowshad added.
MHP is also on a similar drive to collect, digitise and conserve documents related to Hindu and Christian communities in Kerala. “The Kodungallur Temple Museum will be a treasure trove of information on temple rituals and art forms of the state for researchers. Work on it is under way. Similarly, we will be having a Christian Lifestyle Museum which will shine the torch on the first Christian community, Christian rituals and arts,” he said.
MHP has finished the work on eight museums including those at synagogues in North Paravoor and Chendamangalam. Kerala Lifestyle Museum was set up at Paliam Nalukettu. Muziris sites in Ernakulam and Thrissur districts are historical conglomeration of multi-religious culture.