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HENB | Ned Delhi | March 30, 2016:: The important and crucial general council meeting of the Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR), chaired by its former chief by Y S Sudarshan Rao, cleared a host of projects, including a ‘gurukul scheme’ to nurture postdoctoral scholars on Tuesday.
The meeting was preceded by informal deliberations among the council members on the present position of Rao, who had quit in November last year, and under what capacity he would be chairing the meeting. Sources said Rao underscored the fact that he continued to remain the chairman as his resignation has not been accepted by the HRD Ministry. According to a source, Rao has been attending office for the past one month ever since he was informally asked by the ministry to carry on with his responsibilities in all possible ways.
A few members stayed away from the meeting for various reasons. Among them was historian Dilip K Chakrabarti, whose travel fare from Cambridge to Delhi was refused to pay by the central government.
Like the gurukul tradition in which the guru and shishya (student) live together as equals and the latter gains knowledge from this experience, under the new scheme, the historian, in exchange of the research assistant’s help, will train the understudy in his area of expertise. Among the projects approved was the ‘Gurukul Revival Programme’ under which historians engaged in ancient Indian science and technology, ancient Indian art and architecture will be requested to recruit a postdoctoral scholar with research experience as an assistant for two years. The meeting decided to constitute a committee to prepare a blue print for the programme. The council has proposed remuneration for both the research assistant and the historian. It will pay `28,000 per month to the former and set aside a contingency grant of `60,000 a year for two years for the guru.
Exposing Marxist Menace in ICHR
Later on, addressing a foundation day lecture, captioned as “Interpreting Indian National Movement: A Study of Shifting and Changing Trend”, eminent historian Prof Satish Chandra Mittal sought to dispel the myth that there was no concept of a nation, nationalism or national consciousness in India in ancient or pre-colonial times. He said references to nationalism can be traced to the Rig Veda as well as the Mahabharata which western historians have very conveniently forgotten.
Slamming western and Marxist historians for “demeaning” national leaders such as Mahatma Gandhi, Subhas Chandra Bose and Jawaharlal Nehru, Mittal said their understanding of Indian history was biased and not based on facts and sound interpretation. Mittal is the national president of the All India Itihas Sankalan Yojana, an RSS body and one of the six petitioners who demanded a ban on Wendy Doniger’s book The Hindus: An Alternative History. Coming down heavily on British historians, he said even Marxist historians in the country did not admit the role of Indian leaders till leaders from Russia began to praise them. “Indian Marxists took the various movements in a casual way. To them, Swadeshi movement could not gain mass support and Gandhi initiated non-cooperation movement for the middle class and not for the masses.”
In this session of Foundation Day Lecture, ICHR defined Indian nationalism in a new light which have never been accepted by the ‘anti-natioanl’ Marxist school of thought.
Boost for women, disabled scholars
To ensure the participation of more women and students with disabilities in PhD programmes, Union Minister Smriti Irani announced a slew of measures, including maternity leave and a two-year extension for both categories of scholars to submit thesis papers. Irani was present in the 13th convocation of North Eastern Hill University in Shillong from where she announced this Tuesday.
According to Irani, Women and disabled students will get eight years, instead of six years, to submit their thesis, maternity leave benefit and migration facilities.
“The government of India has proposed that in the forthcoming commission meeting of the University Grants Commission (UGC), we will ensure that instead of two years, women and differently abled students be given three years to submit their MPhil certification,” the Union HRD minister said.
“This will give impetus to increase participation in PhD programmes by women and differently-abled students,” she said.
Stating that the government knows the problems faced by women who often have to leave their aspirations and dreams because of marriage, Irani said another proposal discussed with the UGC chairperson on Monday was give maternity leave for women students without counting the leave period in the days of their study.