Imagine poring over the official records of the opium trade in Mumbai in the 19th-century or going through the FIR filed in 1948 after Mahatma Gandhi's murder. You could even read the private letters of B R Ambedkar or a script of All India Radio's news bulletin from the day India went to war with Pakistan in 1965.

Until now, ordinary citizens had no access to millions of such documents, which are a repository of the country's past and are locked away in the Delhi-based National Archives of India. But thanks to a proposed amendment to the law that governs access to these records, all that could soon change. Any common man, and not just academic reseachers, could soon be able to go through the history documented in them.

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