(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
May 30, 2010
Indian History Congress Meets At Its 70th Session
From A Correspondent
THE Indian History Congress held
annual session at the
These dates demand an
explanation. The History
Congress usually meets at the end of December. The 70th
to be held at the
At the general session on May
15, the distinguished
historian Professor Romila Thapar introduced the general president of
session, Professor R Champakalakshmi. Thereafter Professor Irfan Habib
delivered the inaugural address in which he drew attention to the
roots of the History Congress, which was founded in 1935. From the
opposed communal tendencies and upheld a scientific and all-inclusive
to history. After giving some early instances of such a stand in the
of the organisation, Habib recalled the opposition to Emergency
its resolutions at
Professor R Champakalakshmi, the
general president of
the session, then, delivered her address (already printed) entitled
of a Religious Tradition: Perspectives from Pre-Colonial South India.’
Professor Champakalakshmi commented on certain biases in South Indian
historiography, such as the emphasis on Brahmanism to the exclusion or
marginalisation of the Shramanic religions (Buddhism and Jainism) in
the religious and cultural history of
At the general session, the
various awards and prizes
were also announced and conferred. The Professor Barpujaree Award was
on the veteran historian, Professor Satish Chandra, on his extensive
The sectional presidents read their addresses (all of them printed) in the afternoon. Prof Sishir Kumar Panda (Ancient India) devoted his address to ‘Early State Formation in Orissa’; Prof NR Farooqi (Medieval India) to ‘Ottoman Documents on India’; Prof Rajen Saikia (Modern India) to ‘The Political Geography of Colonial and Post – Colonial Assam; Prof TR Ghoble (Countries other than India), to ‘The Dynamics of China’s Transition’; Dr Ashok Dutta (Archaeology) to ‘Cultural Development in the Post-Harappan Period’; and Prof Rajen Harshe (Contemporary India) to ‘International Relations Studies in India’.
In the evening of
May 15, Prof Aniruddha Ray delivered the Prof SC Misra Memorial
on Changes in the Economy of the Bengal Sultanate, 1350-1575, the
of which was also made available. Prof Ray argued that the period saw
expansion of money economy and trade in
On May 16, the History Congress symposium was held on Money and Credit in Indian History. Prof Y Subbarayalu spoke on Money in the Vijayanagara Empire and Dr Najaf Haider discussed the effects of the silver influx on money supply in the Mughal Empire. Professor Prabhat Patnaik explained in a most lucid fashion how under ‘globalisation’ a large inflow of money may take place without adding to a country’s real capital, while its outflow would entirely disrupt the economy. He, therefore, called for strict regulation over external speculative investments.
A very large number of papers
(about 560 in all) were
presented at the various sections of the History Congress. Modern
By the side of the sections, the
Congress and associate organisations held three panels. One, on the
Historiography of Dalits, was sponsored by the
Another panel was organised under the aegis of ICHR the same day to celebrate the 100th anniversary, (2009-10), of the Hind Swaraj of Mahatma Gandhi, with Prof Sabyasachi Bhattacharya as the main speaker.
The Aligarh Historians Society organised a two-day panel (May 16-17) on Economic Change in Indian History. Nearly all the 20 papers were pre-circulated, and covered all periods of Indian history. Participants included Professors Utsa Patnaik, Om Prakash, Iqtidar Alam Khan and Prabhat Patnaik. Some participants whose papers were received, could not be present. It was decided at the end of the panel sessions that the papers should be published as a volume at an early date.
The Indian History Congress at its business session passed two resolutions. By one resolution it called on the authorities of the Tirupati temple not to gold-plate the walls of the garbhagriha so as to cover up the numerous inscriptions the walls bear from the Chola to Vijayanagara times.
By another resolution the History Congress called on the Archaeological Survey of India to update its methods of excavation so that these cause the least destruction at sites, to publish long-due reports in a proper manner, and to speedily clear the arrears in its annual publications (Indian Archaeology and Epigraphia Indica) with its Arabic-Persian Supplement.
The Indian History Congress
Aniruddha Ray as the next general president of the Indian History
sectional presidents elected are: Prof RN Misra (Ancient India), Dr
Ahmad (Medieval India), Prof Mridula Mukherji (Modern India), Prof H
(Countries other than
Professor Arun Bandopadhyay was re-elected secretary, Prof Rajsekhar Basu, treasurer, and Prof SZH Jafri, joint secretary (incharge, permanent office). Prof V Kunhali was elected as the other joint secretary. A new 20 – member executive committee was also elected.
The next session is scheduled to
be held under this
aegis of the