09 March, 2021

Ram, Where Art Thou?

The BJP’s ICHR appointment revives fears of a move to a right-wing retelling of history

Ram, Where Art Thou?

One of the keenly watched moves of the new BJP-led NDA government will be appointments to key research institutes like Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR), Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR) and Institute of Advanced Stu­dies, which have always been contested since the time of their inception. These positions of authority have almost always been appointees of the political dispensa­tions of the time. The appointments are in a way crucial for they present an opportunity for the ruling regime to not only give a direction to future areas of res­earch but in some instances even rew­rite history as we know it now.

So it comes as no surprise that Yella­p­ragada Sudershan Rao’s appointm­ent—one of the first to be made by the Nar­­endra Modi government—has led to some consternation in academic circles as the sign of a clear rightward lurch in research institutes. To begin with, historians, as is their wont, seek citations as proof of his credentials. “If you meet me, you will know me,” he...

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