After the BJP government appointed Y Sudershan Rao, who has openly expressed his belief in Vedic literature and caste system, as the chairperson of the Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR), the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and its affiliates are eyeing its 27 member council, whose three-year term comes to an end next month.
According to sources, HRD minister Smriti Irani has received a list of names who the RSS deem fit for ICHR appointment.
Some names in the list include ex-Archaeological Survey of India director BB Lal, who during his tenure at ASI tried to prove the existence of Mahabharata and Indraprastha, Satish Chandra Mittal, president of Akhil Bhartiya Itihas Sankalan Yojna, a historical research body affiliated to RSS, and Dilip K Chakrabarty, an archaeologist at Cambridge University.
Along with ICHR, another important research body in the field of social sciences that is likely to see changes in its council and on which the RSS has its eyes set on, is Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR) whose term comes to end this month.
“Both bodies have been dominated by left historians for long, it is time they are replaced with people who help in writing history with Indian perspective, giving more space to Indian icons,” Mukul Kanitkar the organisational secretary of Bhartiya Sikshan Mandal, one of the RSS affiliated body told HT.
ICHR’s council, which consists of 27 members including 18 eminent historians, four government representatives, director generals of ASI and national archives, representative of the UGC and chairperson and member secretary of the research council, is reconstituted every three years.
Out of the 18 historians, 8 are eligible for a second term and 10 have completed their maximum of two terms. However, sources say government could opt for replacing all the 18 historians.
“If all 18 are replaced this will be going against the convention according to which half of the members continue to give a sense of continuity in the function of the council,” professor Aditya Mukherjee, a council member said.
ICHR chairperson professor Rao when contacted, refused to comment. “I would not be able to say anything on it at this point of time,” he said.