Seeking to deepen UK-India cultural ties, Britain has launched a new digitisation programme of Indian manuscripts to bring nearly 11 million pages of South Asian books online.
The British government backed “Two Centuries of Indian Print” project has been launched by Britain’s senior-most Indian-origin Cabinet member Priti Patel ahead of next year’s UK-India Year of Culture in 2017, which had been announced to mark Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the UK last year.
The first phase of the project began with the digitisation of around 200,000 pages from Bengali books, including the earliest Bengali title published in 1778, as well as many other rare works.
During a visit to the British Library (BL) here yesterday, the UK Employment Minister described the move to bring nearly 11 million pages of South Asian titles online as an “important milestone” in the shared India-UK history.
The material to be made available online for the first time spans a period between 1714 and 1914 and includes at least 22 South Asian languages.
“Digitising the world’s largest collection of historic South Asian books, many dating back hundreds of years, is an important milestone in our shared history which will further strengthen the deep cultural ties between our two great nations.