Aditya Vij is a Popular Delhi based vintage artefacts collector. He is known for his massive set of collection of archives. He has been collecting things since childhood. His collection consists of oldest of cameras to things belonging to the British era, match boxes to vintage cars, old movie posters and lighters. Recently he was a part of the Human Library in Delhi.
We had a small telephonic conversation with the History Man himself, he shares some of his experience with the collection he has.
Question: Do you remember when you started collecting memorabilia from the past?
Answer: Basically, I was collecting things when I was a small child. But the other things came up about four and a half years back when I was actually putting things in a chronological order and whatever could be state. So finally, from about 4 years back I started collecting things.
Question: What inspired you to do something like this?
Answer: There are different reasons and logic behind it. The history we read in book in school is much different from the actual things and products we see in our today life. The things which affect our lives have a lot of connection with the history and you won’t get any of those things in books. There are different reasons behind it. For Example: We have camera History in India, Camera and photography have brought a lot of changes in our lifestyles in the last 100 years. The camera history itself is a very fascinating story in itself. The other example can be of an Ice Cream Maker, there are different process involved in making of Ice Cream. It started from a simple snow ball and a stick but now we have different machines to make different varieties of Ice Cream. Also in the past, we used kerosene lamps to lit up our houses but today’s evolution has made our lives easier. The electricity in every house shows the degree of change from the past to present. These things do not exist in books, When I see things of history, I try to develop a relationship with its impact in our lives. It is very exciting for me to know more about the things from history. Also, it is very important to collect these things, as the people now days throw the old things from their houses during cleaning and it is finally taken by the scrap dealers and broken into small fragments to recycle. It is then when the history gets lost. In order to protect those things, I collect them and put it safely in my collection for the future generation to see. Looking at the things in pictures is very much different from looking at it real.
Question: Are you thinking of building your own museum with all your archives?
Answer: My house is almost a museum now; the things are spread all over the house. But I want to make it more structured and organised as soon as possible, so that I can set up things in a more chronological manner.
Question: Tell us something about your show ‘The History Hunter’.
Answer: It was a very nice experience to be a part of Doordarshan. Doordarshan has a great reach, but now a day rarely anyone watches Doordarshan, but it has capabilities to reach corners of the world. I am happy that Doordarshan carried this. I have discussions with different channels also, but they do not take it practically. There’s another channel called “Kamal Hai” they launched their channel by my interview. The other channels are also promoting it, and helping us in preserving our history that does not exist in a book.
Question: What do you like the most about your Exhibitions in Delhi?
Answer: The best part of my exhibitions is to look at the sparkle in the people’s eyes. People of age group 70 – 80 years come to see my collection and they immediately relate to it. Children of Age group 14 years becomes excited to see a landline phone. Ladies are fascinated by looking at the bread toaster, heater, watch, clock and more from the past. Kids are surprised by the typewriters and camera reels. People of every age group enjoys my exhibitions as looking at the things in real is much more exciting than looking at it in pictures.
Question: What is your favourite item in your collection?
Answer: I wish I had an answer to that, it is like somebody asking to you, who is your best girlfriend. Hahaha! Everything has its own unique history and its quite interesting to study the factors behind it. I like all of them equally and I love to see and read about them from the history.
Question: What is the oldest item in your collection?
Answer: The collection starts from millions of years, I have pre-historic tools which go back to 40- 50,000 years old. I have 35 pre-historic tools. I have things dug out from the fields. I have a book and a camera from 1818. Typewriters come from very old days of 1900. The other things also are 130 – 140 years old.
Question: Recently you were a part of the Human Library in Delhi, share some of your experience with us?
Answer: It was a great experience to be a part of the Human Library, you have often seen or read my interviews in newspapers and channels, but it was a great experience looking at the kids. It was very exciting to see kids opting me as a book to read. They found very charming and exciting to know how things are being collected and how to collect it. They had so many questions, they wanted to know more about me. It is exciting to see them with interaction with their eyes and happiness on their faces.
Question: What are your future plans?
Answer: At present my future plan is to build a museum for the coming generation. I am trying to see if government can help or any private companies take responsibilities or I will do it by myself. Building a museum is very important as we have nothing as such in our country.
Question: Are you planning of any exhibition outside Delhi?
Answer: Not really, because it is very difficult to transport things outside Delhi. The safety is also a prime issue, so at present I would restrict my exhibitions to Delhi only.
Question: Any message for our today’s generation?
Answer: The children of present has to learn it, they do not understand the history well. You will not be able to design the future well if do not understand the history. Whatever comes in the market is an outcome of other things we saw in history. Things evolved now has a connect with the history in the past. So, to understand these facts, the present generation has to learn to preserve the archives.
Have a look at some of his collection:
Some pictures from his exhibition at Select City Walk in Saket.
Some of his Vintage Cars:
A picture from his own den:
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-Team Social Mela