As ICHR takes right turn, journal editor Sabyasachi Bhattacharya quits

  • Vikas Pathak, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Apr 16, 2015 01:26 IST

Eminent historian Sabyasachi Bhattacharya has resigned as chief editor of the Indian Council of Historical Research’s (ICHR) journal Indian Historical Review.

“It is true that I have submitted my resignation. But I will not make any comments till my resignation is accepted,” the former ICHR head told HT.

The resignation comes at a time when the premiere historical research body has seen a rightward turn, with a new chairman being appointed last year and a council with a saffron tinge being appointed earlier this year.

In publication since 1974, the Indian Historical Review is the refereed journal of the ICHR that publishes research work in history.

ICHR chairman YS Rao could not be reached for comment. Sources within the organisation said no decision has yet been taken on the resignation.

A source close to Bhattacharya said, “His resignation is connected with the controversies which have surrounded the institution in the past few months”.

“When Basudev Chatterjee had replaced Bhattacharya as ICHR chief [in 2011], the new chairman and council requested him to continue working on the Towards Freedom project. This time there is nothing of the sort,” said a historian close to Bhattacharya.

The buzz is that he is also uneasy with the “direction” the institution is taking and about an alleged remark in a council meeting on the need to revamp it.

Bhattacharya, who was chairman of the ICHR from 2007 to 2011, was formerly a professor of history at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi and is deemed one of the country’s doyens of economic history.

The ICHR was earlier dominated by left and liberal scholars but it was revamped after the NDA government came to power, with scholars disagreeing with the earlier bunch being appointed to its council.

The most renowned of the new bunch — archaeologist Dilip Chakrabarti — had recently voiced public disagreement with the choice of Vedic teacher and Padma awardee David Frawley for the prestigious ICHR foundation day lecture. At the same event, ICHR member-secretary Ravindran Gopinath had been heckled by the audience when he tried to disagree with some points being made.

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