First-of-its-kind history centre for western region | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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First-of-its-kind history centre for western region

Maharashtra has a wealth of historical material, but much of that is yet to come to light.

mumbai Updated: Nov 14, 2011 01:02 IST
Bhavya Dore

Maharashtra has a wealth of historical material, but much of that is yet to come to light.

The Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR), an autonomous body based in Delhi, will be inaugurating its first western India regional centre and its third in the country on Monday, aiming to rectify the lacunae in historical research and documentation in this part of the country.

A review committee appointed by the central government had in 2004 recommended the setting up of ICHR regional centres all over the country. The western region centre, which will be based at the Mumbai University’s Kalina campus will function as a research and documentation point and library for scholars and academics. It will also be open to the general public.“There is so much that remains undocumented, and we are especially keen on acquiring documents in the 17th century Modi script from this region,” said Ishrat Alam, member secretary of the ICHR. “Maharashtra can really develop this centre. We hope to acquire material through personal collections. All of this will be very useful to scholars.” The Modi script was an older script used for writing Marathi.

The centre aims to make available more than 120 journals, build up a library, and conduct teaching programmes for students. “Students are not familiar with the latest research methodologies, so the centre will also conduct academic programmes,” said Alam.

The ICHR has two other regional centres – in Guwahati and Bangalore – that have been running since 1997. The Mumbai centre will be established in cooperation with the University’s history department. “We would like to join the mainstream of historical research as the ICHR is an all-India body,” said TR Ghoble, head of the department of history at Mumbai University.

The new centre will be inaugurated by the university’s vice chancellor Rajan Welukar on Monday, at the Kalina campus. The ICHR president Basudev Chatterji will then deliver the keynote address. The centre will also conduct a two-day workshop on new trends and techniques in historical research over Monday and Tuesday.

The centre will be open to the general public for reading and research, though not for borrowing purposes.

About ICHR

The ICHR is an autonomous body based in Delhi, which aims to bring together historians, promote and coordinate historical research and provide direction to the presentation and interpretation of history.

The ICHR has, in the past, been involved with research projects on Anglo-Naga relations in the mid-nineteenth century, clan formations among Muslims in Manipur and sexuality and culture in late colonial Bengal.

It also provides funding to scholars and teachers, funding for seminars and workshops and publishes a biannual journal. It has two regional centres – in Bangalore and in Guwahati.