Aakriti Mandhwani (Shiv Nadar University)

Hindi Sahitya Sammelan, Allahabad

Along with the Nagari Pracharini Sabha, Hindi Sahitya Sammelan became a significant player in the spread of Hindi language and literature from the moment that it was founded in Allahabad (in present-day Uttar Pradesh) in 1910. Founded under the auspices of the Pracharini Sabha, the Sammelan periodically organised literary functions and awarded literary prizes for writing in Hindi. Apart from this, it also established a publishing house and conducted examinations in Hindi language and literature. The Sammelan continues to conduct these activities on its premises to this day.

Research room, MSAThe Sammelan’s main building in Allahabad also houses a substantial library which is a treasure trove for scholars interested in a broad-based study of Hindi writing from the early twentieth century onwards. It houses a large collection of bound and well-preserved copies of Hindi periodicals. Unusually, it holds a variety of periodicals from the post-Independence period, which can often be more difficult to access in other locations. These periodicals range from rare highbrow literary journals to what might seem to be unlikely residents in a library that promotes Hindi literature: large collections of lowbrow publications. The collections of periodicals are often partially available but correspond to the sturdy and well-organised catalogue. Occasional issues of the magazines are missing. But the librarians do the hard work of finding bound volumes that you can request from the catalogue. The library also stores copies of its own magazine, the Sammelan Patrika, that contain notes on its functions and meetings. These provide valuable insights into the working of the Association, which was declared an “Institute of National Importance” by Act of Parliament in 1962. The same complex also houses the Sammelan Sangrahalaya (Archive-cum-museum), which boasts of a range of special collections, an array of manuscripts, and rare books in Sanskrit and Hindi donated by many of its first patrons when the Archive-cum-museum opened in 1936.

The Sammelan Library is located on Sammelan Marg in a bustling and often traffic-clogged part of the city. A letter of support from the educational institution, in Hindi if possible, is required to gain admittance. Since, in addition to being shut on various festivals according to the Hindu calendar, the library regularly and arbitrarily closes down to host many functions on its premises, it is recommended that you account for these delays while planning your research trip. Photocopying facilities are not available at the venue, but photography is allowed.

March 2019