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ICHR to begin research work into 1947-64 period

Will deal with a range of watershed events, including ban on RSS.

Written by Ruhi Tewari | New Delhi |
December 15, 2014 12:48:32 am

Taking forward its ongoing research project tracing Indian history till the country achieved Independence in 1947, the Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR) has cleared, and is set to begin work on, its next big project looking into the crucial post-Independence era between 1947-1964.

The project has been cleared in principle by the ICHR Council and work on it is set to begin soon. According to sources in the research body, the 1947-64 phase has been picked since it represents “the end of one crucial phase of history and politics in India between the country achieving freedom and former Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s death in 1964”.

Meanwhile, the much-delayed ongoing project — ‘Towards Freedom’ — that has been on since 1972 is now in its final phases, and is expected to be completed by March next year. ICHR — an autonomous organisation — was established in 1972 and falls under the HRD Ministry.

The new project has been handed over to an internal committee with JNU professor Aditya Mukherjee as the convenor. While larger aspects of the project have been approved, the committee will work on smaller details, including deciding on whether the research should be divided into themes or if should be year-wise.

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Sources, however, say this project is expected to be contentious since it would deal with a range of watershed events, including Constitution drafting, the beginning of five-year plans, the politics of Nehru and his death, as well as the ban on the RSS in 1948. With the BJP-led government in power at the Centre, touching on issues like the ban on its ideological parent the RSS could prove to be a sticky issue.

Research projects under ICHR have had a tumultuous past, with instances of a change in regimes at the Centre influencing the fate of work. The BJP-led government had stalled the ‘Towards Freedom’ project and recalled some volumes of it after it came to power in the late 1990s. It was later revived under the UPA government in 2004.

Meanwhile, the term of the current ICHR Council is set to expire on December 22 and the ministry led by Smriti Irani is all set to initiate the process of nominating a new council.

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