An architectural historian and a guest professor from IIT Gandhinagar are the new additions to a government-appointed committee for a multidisciplinary study of the river Saraswati.
The 25-member advisory committee was constituted in December 2017 by the Ministry of Culture to study the Saraswati basin and identify 16 sites for research and development.
A committee was first set up in September 2015 for the purpose for a period of two years. The government appears to have extended the tenure of the committee, which has 14 members from the government and is headed by the Culture Minister. The members include Bal Mukund of the RSS’s history wing, Akhil Bhartiya Itihas Sankalan Samiti, and RSS veteran and chairman of Saraswati Nidi Sodh Sansthan Darshan Lal Jain, whose terms have now been extended. Among the non-government members, it has added IIT Gandhinagar guest professor Dr Michel Danino and Noida-based Rasika Art & Designs director Surbhi Gupta as members.
“Among other things, the committee will identify subjects of research such as landscape evolution, environmental changes, history or archeological cultures with special emphasis on the protohistorical era of River Saraswati in particular and its basin in general by employing remote sensing imagery, integrated GPS survey and stratigraphical as well as scientific investigation by exploration/ excavation for collection of data for geotechnical, palaeobiological and archaeological analyses and research,” the December 28 notification states.
Gupta told The Indian Express that she had been told a year ago that she should join the committee when she had met Minister of Culture Mahesh Sharma to share her research on the Harappan civilization. “I am an architectural historian interested in conservation and heritage. I have always wondered why we have not captured Harappan history like the civilizations in Greece and Egypt have been,” she said. “I had met the minister to present my research on the topic.”