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Database: News from the Himalayas

Feb 09, 2015

A database makes the old issues of the "Himalayan Times" accessible online. The digital humanities project was realized by Dr. Markus Viehbeck on behalf of the research project D19 "Kalimpong", which is coordinated by Prof. Dr. Birgit Kellner.

The “Himalayan Times” newspaper published in Kalimpong, India, represents a major historical source for research into the political and social developments in the Himalayas after World War II. Nearly every issue is now available online in the new database. The articles and news reports provide insight into how the people in the regions of northern India bordering Tibet, Nepal, and Bhutan lived – as well as their views of Europe and the West. As a consequence of trade agreements with Tibet imposed by British troops in 1904, the border town of Kalimpong grew to become a major centre of exchange for Tibetan and Western commodities.

The significance of this city as a focal point in encounters between East and West is reflected in the reports in the "Himalayan Times", which was published from 1947 onward. In particular, a travel report published in the paper by Archibald Steele, one of the first Western journalists permitted to travel to Tibet in 1951, is revealing. The digital archive in Heidelberg now provides online access to more than 90 percent of the issues of the newspaper from 1949 and 1963. Individual pages can be viewed in various file formats, and the system also features a full text search in all available issues.

The digital humanities project was set up by the Cluster's research project D19 "Kalimpong", coordinated by Prof. Dr. Birgit Kellner (HCTS Chair of Buddhist Studies), in cooperation with the Heidelberg University Library. The digital archive was managed by Dr. Markus Viehbeck with support of the doctoral candidates Anna Sawerthal and Sarah Ewald. The database is based to a large extent on a collection of the historian Dr. Isrun Engelhardt, who assembled the issues still available at various places and institutions, such as the New York Public Library. Sandip Jain, the grandson of the newspaper’s founder, also supported the project.

Visit the new database "Himalayan Times" for more information


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