History of Himachal Pradesh is no different from the history of the Country. Since ages Himachal Pradesh remained interwoven to the events of history for this hilly region had always been attracting the invaders for its unparallel hospitality, salubrious environs, adventurous life and rich natural wealth in fauna and flora. Himachal Pradesh and its people did experience the rule of aliens, witnessed the advent of Muhammadans, suffered the expeditions of Gurkhas, conquests of Sikhs, establishment of the colonially imperialistic influences of the British Regime and were also governed by native rulers who had left behind themselves a voluminous past scattered all over Himachal Pradesh which became imperative for the historians and propensitors to gather such historical material for the posterity and history of the State. Resultantly, the post independence period was marked with the need to house these historical records.
Indian Independence, a boon showered upon the Nation by the martyrs and patriots, hurried the implementation of democratic system by virtue of which Himachal Pradesh was carved out as the 18th State to the Indian Union on January 25th, 1971. This statehood status to Himachal Pradesh certainly looked for divulging and exploring its history for which the astucious Chief Ministership of Sh. Virbhadra Singh could strike the silver lining for archival pursuits. Hence, no time was wasted to recover the deterioratingly scattered historical evidences.
Setup and Inaugural Information:
The Government of Himachal Pradesh having understood the role of Archives constituted eleven members Himachal Pradesh Record Management Committee in 1979 vide notification No. A (4)-2/78 dated 9-2-19'19 to work out the modalities for the establishment of State Archives. The role of Indian Historical
Record Commission and the evaluation of State Administrative bodies to the vanished feudalism, ceased monarchies, died down colonial regime and events of freedom movement were the hallmark in venturing State Archives. Resultantly Archives was no longer a dream term for the scholars in Himachal Pradesh and the dawn of the 19th day of April, 1986 led to the inauguration of Himachal State Archives by the Hon'ble Chief Minister Raja Virbhadra Singh to amuse the world of scholars throughout the State and outside.
Collection at that time :
Immediately after the establishment of State Archives on 19th April, 1986 the records of historical and administrative nature were selected from the offices of Deputy Commissioner Kangra and Sirmour as well as from district board Kangra .During the same year itself 12,000 old and rare files were hoarded in the State Archives. Records from Rampur Bushahr, Kumarsain and Sangri were also transferred to the archival repository. In the same year His Excellency Admiral R.K.S. Gandhi, the Governor of Himachal Pradesh made a personal visit to inspect the archival possessions. Himachal State Archives now began to enrich itself in leaps and bounds.
Contributions of the Persons:
Gratitude to the contributions made by the erstwhile rulers of Rampur Bushahr, Kumarsain and Sangri for having parted with some 10239 old and rare files/ manuscripts bearing the chronology 1854 -- 1936 A.D. to make State Archives functional at the very onset. A large number of old and rare manuscripts, files, books, gazetteers and gazettes are collected through the official endeavours of the personnel in Archives. It is worth mentioning that 22 rare files belonging to the year 1952-1961 A.D. were handed over to the Archives by Sh. S.C. Katoch, a retired Chairman, Himachal Pradesh State Electricity Board. These files speak volumes on the construction of Bhakra Dam, the highest dam in Asia. The words of thanks are equally necessary for the District Magistrates, Sub Divisional Magistrates, Heads of the Departments as well as the Secretariat Record Officials and the Municipal Corporations/Committees in the State to have deposited the old records available in their respective areas for contributing to the formation of H.P. State Archives.