Just 16 months into his tenure as chairperson of the Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR), Yellapragada Sudershan Rao has resigned from the post citing “personal reasons”.
While there were reports that he was unhappy after the Human Resources Development (HRD) ministry turned down a proposal to grant him a honorarium of Rs 1.5 lakh, Rao only said that he had put in his papers and was awaiting the ministry’s response.
Rao, who retired from Kakatiya University department, had been appointed for a term of three years.
The appointment of Rao, who is learnt to be a member of the Akhil Bharatiya Itihas Sankalan Yojana which is affiliated to the RSS, had also been a controversial one and attracted criticism from other historians such as Romila Thapar who had expressed surprise while questioning his academic credentials.
When contacted, Rao said that he had “resigned because of personal reasons” adding that he did not wish to speak more as he was awaiting a response from the ministry.
Rao had sent his resignation to HRD minister Smriti Irani on November 24, it is learnt.
A proposal to grant Rao an honorarium was discussed at the 81st meeting of the General Council of ICHR on September 23 where it found support of the council members and was sent to the HRD ministry.
Ministry officials said that Rao’s resignation citing “personal reasons” has been received adding that a decision in this regard will be taken.
They also added that the position of ICHR chairman is an honorary position.
Many of the views expressed by Rao were also quite controversial. He had in a blog said that ancient caste system worked well, which had attracted criticism.