Aligarh historians society’s seminar: Ex-chairman Irfan Habib seeks funds, ICHR says no

Habib, who is currently appointed as professor emeritus in the history department of Aligarh Muslim University, was the ICHR chairman from September 9, 1986, to July 1, 1990.

Written by Ritika Chopra | New Delhi | Published:June 11, 2017 3:39 am

THE INDIAN Council of Historical Research (ICHR) turned down a request for financial assistance from its former chairman, Professor Irfan Habib, for organising the Aligarh Historians Society’s (AHS) annual seminar on the country’s regional history last year.

While the AHS has been seeking funds since 2000, this was the first time that the ICHR refused to fund its annual seminar, according to Professor Shireen Moosvi, AHS secretary.

Habib, who is currently appointed as professor emeritus in the history department of Aligarh Muslim University, was the ICHR chairman from September 9, 1986, to July 1, 1990.

ICHR’s Research Projects Committee, which evaluates proposals seeking funds for research, seminars and workshops, met on August 8, 2016, to consider Habib’s request for Rs 3.5 lakh for the two-day seminar, titled ‘India and its Parts — Past and Present’, where historians Romila Thapar, Rajan Gurukkal, B P Sahu and Gopinath Ravindran, among others, presented papers.

According to the minutes of the meeting, the panel, of which ICHR’s incumbent chairman Y S Rao is also a member, shot down the request on the ground that it “did not find the proposal adequate in terms of the criteria for financial assistance”. Professors Michael Danino and Purabi Roy also attended the meeting.

Asked if he was convinced by ICHR’s reason for rejecting his proposal, Habib said, “No, regional history is one of the areas to which ICHR is, by its rules, supposed to give special attention; and our seminar was essentially about regional history.”

When contacted by The Sunday Express via email, ICHR’s current head wrote, “I wish ICHR should be able to meet the requirements of all those who seek financial assistance for all their academic endeavours. But its limited resources compel it to subsidise a small fraction of the proposals, leaving many disappointed when it meets periodically to sanction grants under various schemes. The demand is also increasing in manifold these years.

“The case you referred to might be one among those ICHR might have regretted. Unfortunately, the standard ‘phrase’ used for such regret letters is being applied since long. Further, the regret letter says, ‘this should not be construed as the merit of your proposal’. ICHR’s inability to meet the demand is not in any way reflective of the quality of a proposal. RFR (Chapter-I, Clause 4(c)) clearly says that the ICHR’s decision is final and such queries are not answered.”

In 2015, after the HRD Ministry, under its then minister Smriti Irani, reconstituted the ICHR with 18 new members, the Council, in a first, reduced its financial assistance for the AHS seminar to Rs 1 lakh. In contrast, the ICHR released Rs 2 lakh in 2012 for the seminar, Rs 2.5 lakh in 2013, and Rs 3.5 lakh in 2014, said Moosvi.

Incidentally, 2015 was also the year when ICHR stripped the Indian History Congress, the country’s oldest professional body, of its special status which allowed IHC to receive funds exceeding the fixed ceiling of Rs 5 lakh for its annual conference. Habib is the vice-president of IHC.

ICHR usually spends close to a crore on funding seminars, conferences and workshops in a year. In 2015-16, for instance, it spent over Rs 1.25 crore for this purpose.

The seminar, ‘India and its Parts: Past and Present’, was held at the University of Kerala, Thiruvananthapuram, on December 29 and 30 last year during which 22 papers were presented.

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  1. M
    Jun 11, 2017 at 6:08 pm
    Those who distort history should not be funded by the State
    1. s
      Jun 11, 2017 at 11:50 am
      Irfan Habib is more of a 'history murderer' than a historian. He is a commie-communal bigot.
      1. N
        Narayanan Mahalingam
        Jun 11, 2017 at 11:29 am
        Very happy to read this good news on a dreary sunday morning..
        1. V
          Jun 11, 2017 at 10:55 am
          This seminar by leftists and islamic so called historian was to distort history. Sickulars goondas can find funds from IE, ISI, Cong etc.
          1. P
            paban ghosh
            Jun 11, 2017 at 10:55 am
            Why do we have to believe everything as historical facts that come through the mouth of so called ICHR elites ? They will all try to undermine the Vedic values and put Hinduism on poor light and get away with a great praise from some cunning leftist and sickular people.
            1. V
              Jun 11, 2017 at 10:18 am
              Stuupid people still don't understand that there will be no research oriented seminars in this country. We have got lot gyan in our shakhas, learning that gyan is what makes us nationalists and good people. This outside research-based knowledge is buull-shiit. Shakha gyan has got many books on abt the real medieval history (not the non sense from what the researchers say), shakha has got lot of gyan on medicine - how to grow fair and tall kids, how magical peacoocks reproduce, doctors should wash their hands with cow urrine before surgery to get rid of germs, 1 gram of cow dung generates 1 ton oxygen, cows exhales oxygen, .... That is the real gyan that make us real indians (not what researchers tell). Shakha has also gyan on modern history - Godse was the real freedom fighter and hi was baniya who took credit from Godse. That is the reality. Let us close all these research centers, and promote our shaka based gyan. And Sri Simriti-ji must be heading our ins utions.
              1. S
                saurabh bhadauria
                Jun 11, 2017 at 10:43 am
                Mullah why should bjp fund loony leftwing darbari historian? Do not feel itching in your as_ses.
                1. M
                  Jun 11, 2017 at 6:09 pm
                  Like the Aryan invasion theory promoted by Commies now debunked by DNA tests
                2. R
                  Jun 11, 2017 at 9:56 am
                  Irfan Habib is not a normal man. He is a secular man. According to him, Auganzeb, too, was secular.
                  1. D
                    Jun 11, 2017 at 9:46 am
                    The Moguls were uncivilized marauders. Poor and desperate thieves. They got the news that Bharat was rich in gold, diamonds, cotton, silk and flowing with abundance of food. Hence with their cunning tactics and persistence defeated India's divided kings and princes. Whose army were infact superior. Then usurped the prevai technology from India in science and art as their own. The moguls contribution to India is zazia (tax) on Hindus, religions bigotry, loot and backwardness. Its for all to see. The 7th century mindset among the minorities.
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