About Sundarayya Vignana Kendram

The Sundarayya Vignana Kendram Trust was commissioned in the year 1985, in memory of late Shri Putchalapalli Sundarayya, a renowned freedom fighter and the doyen of Left movement in India. It is managed by a registered Non-Profit Trust. It is maintained by Public Donations, which are exempted from income-tax under Section 80G of Indian Income Tax Act.

The primary objective of the Kendram being the conservation of cultural heritage of Indian civilization, the first phase of the activities therefore concentrated on the setting up of Research Library. The collections of the Research Library were enriched by gifts and donations by several prominent personalities in India. The main part is consisting of Sri Late Putchalapalli Sundarayya’s personal collection. There are several valuable additions to the main collection of Sundarayya. The book donations by Dr.Arudra, a popular and progressive creative writer and intellectual of modern Andhra; Dasarathi, another Telugu poet and novelist; Bezawada Gopala Reddy, a well known political leader, and several others have made the Research Library as the main depositary of our written heritage. The research library now houses more than 2,50,000 very rare 19th and 20th century Telugu, Urdu and English printed materials (books, journals, newspapers, reports, pamphlets) and Urdu manuscripts. The Kendram took on itself the task of collecting and preserving all the printed Telugu materials that are endangered in addition to the Urdu language materials. To meet the ever growing demand from the Research Scholars, the Sundarayya Vignana Kendram is also purchasing latest books and reports on regular basis.

The most valuable are the Private Papers of Sundarayya which alone contains material of more than 1,00,000 pages and around 1200 rare Urdu manuscripts. The Sundarayya Vignana Kendram has also taken the task of Digitalizing and conserving 3000 paintings of late Sri Sanjeeva Dev, a renowned painter of Andhra Pradesh. These were donated to the Trust for keeping in perpetuity.

Scholars from all parts of South India as well as other regions of India and several Scholars working on South Asia have been using the Research Library. The access to the Research Library is free of charge. At present the professional membership is given to more than 300 by the Research Library. The Library is kept open from Monday to Saturday from 10 am to 6 pm and that the Sundarayya Vignana Kendram is in a position to offer furnished accommodation to the visiting outstation scholars.

As part of its future program, the Sundarayya Vignana Kendram aims at developing various collections of private papers of individuals and the papers of organisations, especially those operating in the rural areas. The emphasis is on the retrieval of the primary materials related to various strands of the Indian national movement; the rich legacy of all our Social, Economic and Political movements; Peasant, Tribal and Working Class movements, and the role of Cultural and Religious organisations and associations in those popular movements. Without collecting and preserving the materials on all the above aspects of our South Asian History, we may not be able to write and communicate our rich Civilizational Heritage to the younger generations. It is proposed, therefore, to locate such materials, and then attempt to acquire them as originals or in a reproduced form [Digital or Microfilm]. Under this future program, the Kendram intends to secure the following materials:

[1] Private Papers of Individuals;
[2] Papers of Village Organisations;
[3] Papers of Social, Religious, Cultural and Literary Associations;
[4] Papers of all Women’s Organisations, Trade Unions, and Peasant Associations;
[5] Rare Printed Material on all Aspects of Indian Life;
[6] Printed and Unprinted materials and papers of all Indian Political Parties; and
[7] Materials on all aspects of Indian History.


A New Chapter

Since 1996, The Sundarayya Vignana Kendram in collaboration with the Consortium of Universities headed by the University of Chicago, USA has been involved in the task of preserving a very valuable Urdu Collection of books, manuscripts, journals and periodicals of more than 60,000 in number.

The Sundarayya Vignana Kendram has also executed a major project of recovery of flood damaged research library during 2000-2002 In 2002, the Kendram hired a Thermal Vacuum Freeze Dryer from Cromwell Restoration Ltd., of Vancouver in Canada and successfully retrieved the entire flood damaged 150,000 Urdu, Telugu and English books and manuscripts. By November 2002 the restoration work is completed and the Research Libraries have become operational. This restoration project is considered to be, the only one of its’ kind in the world.

The Sundarayya Vignana Kendram, funded by the Ford Foundation has completed an ambitious project of creating a Union Catalogue for South Asia consisting of books published before 1950s in the languages of Telugu, Urdu and Tamil, http://sauc.uchicago.edu/partners.html. This Union Catalogue is now made available online.

During 2005-2007, the Sundarayya Vignana Kendram has also completed its’ major project funded by the Endangered Archives Program of the British Library, London, UK. We have restored, digitalized and microfilmed more than 200,000 pages of the rare printed books published before 1929.


The award of the second grant for 2009 and 2010 is under process.

New Culture, Library and Research Center at Gachibowli

During 2005 and 2009, to keep face with the growing demand of conservation and housing of cultural artifacts and printed materials, the Trust embarked upon building a new culture, library and research center at Gachibowli. This new campus spread over four acres of land is expected to be fully operational by November 2009. Apart from space to house more than a million books, the building has a digitalization center named Nimmagadda SVK Digitalization Center, a Technical Section, a Software Development Wing and a Grid Enabled Computing System.

The Sundarayya Vignana Kendram and its Research Library are also entering into MoU with several like minded Public/Educational Institutions to create Machine Readable Computer Records of Telugu and Urdu materials published between 1800 and 1950s. The Kendram is simultaneously exploring the feasibility of Digitizing and Microfilming rare Telugu and Urdu materials published before 1950s and thus preserve our cultural heritage for posterity. We strongly believe that microfilming is the ideal medium of conservation, while recongnising the value of digitalization as a useful mode for the scholars in consulting the materials. At Sundarayya Vignana Kendram, we are striving to integrate the philosophy of archiving into digitization.