The city is losing one of its premier academies. The Haryana Academy of History and Culture is being shifted to Kurukshetra, which is around 200 kilometres from Gurgaon.
Officials said that the academy is being shifted as the demand for the academy’s historical content is much more in Kurukshetra, where it can assist in cultural and research purposes.
The academy has been operational from the building complex of Haryana institute of public administration (HIPA). Officials associated with the academy also cited space crunch as a reason for shifting the institute.
The academy was set up in July 2010 under chairmanship of the then Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda with an aim to promote specialised research relating to history and heritage of Haryana and analyse contribution of Haryana in the Freedom struggle.
The academy was mandated to document, compile, and publish books, monographs, reports, journals and papers relating to history of Haryana, it was also required to have a specialised library and repository of records concerning the state.
Shifting of the academy was ordered early this year but the process has been delayed as the space provided in Kurukshetra was not found suitable. Now, an alternative location is being provided for the academy.
With more than 8,000 books that contain the history, culture, socio-economic and political workings of Haryana, the academy is visited by academicians, research students and by civil services officers undergoing training at HIPA.
The records room of the academy houses hundreds of letters exchanged among freedom fighters and government officials during the British rule.
“The oldest letters in the record room date back to 1857. These letters provide deep insight into the struggles, tactics and bond among freedom fighters,” a staffer managing the record room said.
A hall adjacent to the record room houses a library that contains 8,141 books and manuscripts of ancient scriptures by various authors. The library has original pages from old newspapers and magazines, which date back to the 1800s and early 1900s.
One of the treasured pieces is an edition of the weekly Hindi journal ‘The Bharata Mitra’, dated July 2, 1910. The journal was edited from 1899-1907 by Babu Bal Mukund Gupt of Rewari. It was published and printed in then Calcutta.
Among the preserved newspapers and journals is a 1939 copy of the weekly newspaper ‘Yadav Zamindar’, considered to be first newspaper published from Gurgaon. The paper was edited by Rao Mohar Singh, grandfather of Haryana PWD minister Rao Narbir Singh.
There are also rare pictures of Mahatma Gandhi’s visits to Haryana, of Subhash Chandra Bose and other freedom fighters. The pictures have, however, been removed from the walls and packed in boxes as they are to be shifted.
Director of academy, Prof Raghvender Tanwar, said that the academy should not have been set up in Gurgaon in the first place.
“Kurukshetra has rich cultural and historic value, where the university is a seat of learning with 48 departments. Seven other academies are located here (in Kurukshetra), important museums are here, and it is a cultural centre,” Tanwar, who is a retired faculty of Kuruskshetra University, said.
Tanwar said that shifting the academy to Kurukshetra would interlink it with other institutes.
Atul Dev, convener INTACH (Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage), Gurgaon Chapter, said, “This institute has done good work but unfortunately people in Gurgaon are not looking for historical or cultural treasures. The academy will prosper in Kurukshetra along with other institutes.”