Speaking of History

The Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR) is an autonomous organization which was established in 1972 with the objectives of bringing historians together, providing a forum for exchange of views between them, giving a national direction to an objective and scientific writing of history and to have rational presentation and interpretation of history and to promote, accelerate and coordinate research in history.

They bring out two scholarly journals, The Indian Historical Review (IHR) and Itihas. The most recent issues of IHR that has been released is Vol. XXXV, No. 1 (2008), which has articles that range from a study of Axis Satellite Armies of World War II: A Case Study of the Azad Hind Fauj 1942-45 to Nagaram during the Chola and Pandyan Period: Commerce and Towns in the Tamil Country A.D. 850-1350. Itihas has been recently revived and is now up to Volume 2 in the new series.

Their publication program, like that of many scholarly bodies in the country, is in collaboration with a range of publishers . Titles brought out in the last year include

  • Inscriptions of the Vijayanagar Rulers – Volume II, edited by S H Ritti and B R Gopal
  • Towards Freedom – 1939, Part I, edited by Mushirul Hasan.
  • Towards Freedom – 1939, Part 2 edited by Mushirul Hasan
  • Towards Freedom – 1945, edited by Bimal Prasad
  • Towards Freedom – 1946, Part I, edited by Sumit Sarkar
  • North East India: Interpreting the Sources of its History, edited by R Bezbaruah
  • Rethinking 1857: Collection of Papers, edited by Sabyasachi Bhattacharya.
The Series editor for the very important series Towards Freedom is Sabyasachi Bhattacharya, who is also Chairman of the ICHR.

Very unusually for Chairmen of bodies such as this, Prof. Bhattacharya, and eminent labour historian and erstwhile colleague at JNU is trying to cover fresh ground through the ICHR website. In an open letter to visitors on the site he asks

  • What can be done to facilitate more efficiently to communicate information to its users, to ensure transparency, and to create a community of shared intellectual interests?
  • Does this website serve the purpose it ought to serve?
We will like to obtain from the users of this website their opinion. For instance:

  • What are the bytes of information which will be useful to include in the website?
  • Will it be useful to include a bibliographic guide to recent publications, monographs and articles in major research journals and in India and abroad, in the area of Indian history?
  • Is it a good idea to carry in the website information of interest to professional historians and teachers, e.g. announcement of conferences, travel grants, various advisories of the University Grants Commission regarding syllabi, etc.?
  • We already include in the website the ICHR Newsletter which is also sent in hard copy to numerous subscribers; should we also make available to our users the electronic version of the recent numbers of the Indian Historical Review on the internet?
Professor Bhattacharya, the answer to last three questions is a resounding YES! And I hope that the tribe that visits the site more frequently has more substantial answers to the other questions raised.

ICHR books are available on their own pages on Scholars.