1.0 centres of learning and a most


 One of the oldest civilizations
of the world India has a kaleidoscopic variety of people and a rich cultural
heritage.  Ancient
India touched excellence in most of the branches of knowledge, created great
religious systems and developed independent schools of philosophy. Thus, she
became the light of the East and an important centre of knowledge and wisdom.
Her attainment was not the product of one day or one generation but accumulation
of experiences of many centuries.  Books and
manuscripts, being the social mechanism for preserving the racial memory were
accumulated and in course of time there must have grown all over the country innumerable
store-houses of knowledge.  It is a common knowledge
that in ancient and medieval India libraries were considered as important
centres of learning and a most significant medium of education and wisdom.  Emperors, kings and nobles therefore reared
up and maintained libraries of their own and so did the various religious and
monastic organisations.   In recent years, with growing interest in
modem libraries and librarianship we are increasingly becoming interested to
know what these libraries were like, how they were organised and administered
and what were their aims and

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review is an important task for any researcher. 
It is important because it helps him/her to know the related works which
have been done previously. A good knowledge of a particular area of a subject
depends on the review of the related literature.  It helps the researcher to know what kind of
problem has been solved and what problem has to be solved. It not only helps to
identify the problems but also helps to design the research problem. Therefore, study of the related field of history of library
system in ancient and mediaeval India has been reviewed.


Mookerjee, R.K. (1951) revealed the education system
in ancient India.  The study highlighted
the unique contribution made by Hindu and Buddhist thought to both educational theory
and practice.  It throws light about the
library system of ancient Indian Universities such as Taxila, Nalanda,Vikramshila,
Jagaddal, Odantapuri, Nadia etc.  


Dutta, B.K. (1970) had made an attempt to depict the
story of libraries and librarianship of ancient and medieval India which help
us to have a fuller knowledge of the history of Indian education and culture as
well as to appreciate the richness of the whole.


Marshal, D. N. (1983) has stated that, in India, literature and learning
flourished undoubtedly since the remote past and the history of our cultural
heritage extends far back.  He grouped
the ancient Indian libraries into three categories; (i) royal court
collections; (ii) collections at places of learning; and (iii) collections of
religious centres like the Brahmanical temples or maths, Buddhist viharas or
monasteries, and the Jain upasrayas. 


Bhatt, R.K. (2009) has opined in a study that library
historiography in India has not yet received the attention it deserves.  This is due to the non-availability of
literature and the student of library science are not much interested to study
in this regard.    





library history is a subject that excites the imagination because of its long
duration, rich primary resources, and vast potential for insightful study. Yet
one can be frustrated not only by the problems of library development in India,
but by the status of describing and evaluating that evolution with historical
perspective. In surveying the Indian library history situation one question
comes frequently in mind.  Since the
tradition is so rich, the library education programs relatively strong and the
interest in pursuing national cultural history keen, what is the actual status
of library history in India? Although a core literature on Indian library
history exists, it has many imbalances and gaps. The scholars are very
dispersed in their interests and their geographical locations, with one person
rarely contributing more than one work. Among the scholars there is pessimism
about the status of library history within the profession and the cultural
history of the nation that stems, in part, from overly high expectations – if the
history cannot be done on the grand scale and if interdisciplinary approaches
is not taken then it should be remained neglected.  Therefore, I have selected my topic as “Evolution
of Indian Library System from Earliest Time to AD 1947: Historical Approach.”





The general objective of the present study is to
make a historiography of library system of India from earliest time to 1947
AD.  The specific objectives may be set forth

To study the
ancient education systems in India. 

To study the
genesis, growth and development of libraries in India

 To study the different forms of writings and
writing materials

To study the
history and evolution of library system in India  

To explore the rich
cultural, educational heritage of our ancient India




The present work is intended for comprehensive studies
on the library movement of Orissa since early times upto modern times, so that some
hypotheses could be tested, like

(i) If India had a library system in the past?

If so, how old is the history?

(ii) What is the process of evolution of the library

system in India?.

(iii) Changes in technology through ages?.

The present study brings out answers to these querries.  It also brings under focus the state of affairs
in the present library system, its forms materials, uses, the preservation of
old institutions of library system and such other points.



In order to solve the problems and queries’ stated
above, the following methodology will be adopted for observation and tabulation
of facts.   Such as

(i) Administering sample questionnaire with comprehensive datas/ querries
to institutions, universities, offices, business houses, research institutions,
maths, monasteries for modern library system,

(ii) Will visit to different libraries and personal contact with
librarians and authorities,

(iii) Archaeological remains of temples, monasteries and palaces-their

(iv) Epigraphic sources – Copper plates (inscriptions) and Edicts on
stone – their surveys,

 (v) Manuscript sources of
monasteries, museums of State Museum, Universities

(vi) Literary sources of published documents of books and journals as
secondary sources covering pre-history, historical, Hindu, Muslims, Maratha, British
and Modern Periods  shall constitute the
bibliographic sources for the methodology. The annual reports of feudatory States,
provincial government, colleges, universities, academic bodies, clubs, offices,
other establishments formed basis of the work project.





proposed Chapterization of the study may be as under subject to some

Chapter 1:
Introduction, Objective, Methods & Materials, etc. – in this chapter study
would like to introduce the topic, objectives and Methods & Materials will
be used for the proposed work.

Chapter 2:
Literature review/Literature survey – relevant literature relating to the
proposed topic will be identified from the different sources and will be noted

Ancient Library System; History and Evolution of Library system since early
times to c 750 A.D.

Chapter-4: Medieval Library System; History and
Evolution of Library system since C. 750 A.D. to 1568 A.D.


Chapter- 5: Mughal and Maratha Library System; History
and Evolution of Library system since C. 1568 A.D. to 1803 A.D.


 Chapter- 6: British Library
Systems; History and Evolution of Library system since 1801 to 1947


Chapter-7; Conclusions, Appendix, Glossary,
Bibliography, Maps & Illustrations





The glorious history of libraries can be traced
back to the Ancient era when our forefathers learnt the art of communication
and writing, penned the information, knowledge and wisdom in the form of texts
and manuscripts which carried the legacy of traditions, customs and knowledge
from one generation to another. The earliest knowledge hubs of Nalanda, Taxila learning
centres spread the fragrance of knowledge enticed the knowledge seekers across
the terrestrial boundaries and quenched quests. 
The journey of libraries also flourished in the medieval era though the
invaders annihilated major portion of our knowledge legacy but become awakened
and curious to really know and learn the basics of knowledge paradigm.