SAMP Sources

The South Asia Materials Project (SAMP) at the Center for Research Libraries is an amazing collection of political sources. It’s particularly useful for the colonial period, but also has some interesting stuff on the post-independence period (especially in India).

For grad students looking for things to study, I suggest wandering the microfilms of these collections (hyperlinks below to PDF guides):

Confidential Publications and Home Political Files – lots from the Indian press as monitored by the British.

Documentation of Emergency Period in India (June 1975 – March 1977) – various correspondences and documents, including among underground activists, political prisoners, from the wildly under-studied Emergency.

Indian Proscribed Tracts, 1907-1947 (note: there is a 1954 Naga tract in here, so 1947 seems like a fuzzy end-date)

And, above all, the Norman Gerald Barrier collection of South Asian political tracts. This collection is most interesting to me because 1) it is mostly post-1947 and 2) it sheds light on the full spectrum of parties, movements, and intellectual currents in post-colonial India, moving beyond the historian’s focus on the colonial era and the political scientist’s obsession with the Congress and mainstream electoral politics. It has documents by and about socialists, communists, the Indian right (in both its Hindutva and Swatantra strands), separatists, activists, and provincial politicians, plus of course the Congress and its rivals.

Microfilm is terribly old-fashioned, but there is amazing stuff in the SAMP, and I hope it gets more use from scholars of contemporary South Asia.



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