Crying need for a digital library of E M S Namboodiripad's works sign now

E M S Namboodiripad, a leading figure in the political and social spheres in Kerala, was a prolific writer. His Complete Works in Malayalam is expected to make up one hundred volumes of which eighty odd volumes are already out.

It's regrettable that very few works of E M S are available online. Google Books have only just a couple. This is going to be a major hindrance for E M S studies. As you know, the web-based self-publishing has created a vast corpus of amateur research material which in some cases is leading lights in certain areas. The nature of research has undergone a major change due to online resources and online hypertext referencing. If somebody wants to do a study on an E M S topic today, they would badly miss online primary sources.

It looks like that the Communist Party of India (Marxist) is the sole agency who could decide on the copyright of his works. A remarkable initiative came from the CPI(M) recently to publish a collection of his essays under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License, India. The book that came out in early this year is titled "History, Society and Land Relations, Selected Essays" and is published by LeftWord. We uphold this step and urge them to further this initiative towards giving free access to the works of Namboodiripad who in all his life showed little interest to accrue any profit for himself from his writings. Since major part of his writings is in Malayalam, his mother tongue and the largest volume of published material is in Malayalam, the first step aptly would be to make Malayalam works available online. The result could be that many works hitherto unavailable in English become available through the volunteer translation of those works.

The party, if it wishes so, can make his works in Malayalam available online for public access without much effort. The digitization of the whole works must have already been completed which would mean that the major part of the job is over. Conversion to Unicode standards, indexing and hosting the body of works on some servers are easily achieved and with trusted volunteers it could be a fruitful collaborative effort.

We invite Mr. Prakash Karat's attention to this and would like to to urge him to convince his organization about the potential of efforts in this direction which would hopefully give rise to much collaborative work and amateur/academic research on E M S Namboodiripad.

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Hilary SanfordBy:
People and OrganizationsIn:
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The General Secretary, CPI(M)

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