Ramesh Chandra Majumdar's banishment was only the foundation but an incredibly firm foundation. One of the first structures to be built atop this foundational void of Majumdar's marginalisation was the Indian Council for Historical Research (ICHR). The distinguished archaeologist, Dr DK Chakrabarti provides an illuminative explanation of how things proceeded thereafter.
Precisely the year the Indian Council for Historical Research (ICHR) was founded under the encouraging patronage of then education minister Nurul Hasan. For most of its existence ever since, it has become an expansive den of all manner of Communists actively engaged in the subversion of India's history, plagiarism, and embezzlement of taxpayer money, among other crimes. The perpetrators have not only gotten away with it thanks to the protection afforded by their political masters but continue to live their lavish lifestyles unhampered.
In fact, the crimes started less than five years after the ICHR was born.
In 1976-77, (late) Dr Paramatma Saran, a specialist and expert in Indian medieval history and a scholar of the Persian language submitted the manuscript of his English translation of Tarikh-i-Akbari by Muhammad Arif Qandhari to the ICHR.
The manuscript simply vanished.
Sometime later, as a result of Dr Saran's son-in-law's dogged inquiries, an official probe was ordered. The result of the probe was declared by the then deputy director of the Medieval Unit of the ICHR Tasneem Ahmad: the manuscript was "submitted but not traceable."
About 25 years later, the same manuscript - word to word - resurfaced in the form of a PhD thesis submitted by the selfsame Tasneem Ahmad. The foreword to the thesis showered generous praises:
The author of the foreword: Prof Irfan Habib. The same Irfan Habib who, in 2015 equated the RSS with the ISIS. What also needs to be told is the fact that Prof Habib was twice the chairman of the ICHR and five times its member.
However, the ugly truth remains: Dr Tasneem Ahmad was awarded a PhD for a work he had stolen - there's no polite way of saying this. To my knowledge, it doesn't appear that he has been punished for it by the law. And Dr Paramatma Saran has been dead for a long time.
It's now time to recall that I had mentioned two important points "that have a huge bearing" in my recounting of the R.C. Majumdar saga.
First, his record-time publication of the definitive volumes narrating the factual history of Indian freedom struggle and second, the timeline of the publication of the same project entrusted by Nehru’s government to Tara Chand.
In 1972, the year ICHR was established, the government funded Towards Freedom, an ambitious project to (sic) document - yet again - the Indian freedom struggle in nine volumes. This project is as old as the ICHR itself and remained unfinished after forty-three years after which it was finally, deservedly shuttered. Some excerpts from the excellent and detailed July 16, 2015 news report will suffice to convey the extent of venality and loot of public money:
The sheer magnitude of self-righteousness of Irfan Habib induces paroxysms of outrage in the conscience of anybody committed to our national interest: instead of being accountable, the lofty professor has chosen to "excuse himself," like the disgraced Lift Intellectual Tarun Tejpal "recusing" himself after trying to molest his own protégé.
Towards Freedom appears to be that mammoth ICHR udder that has provided a seemingly unending supply of the milk of political patronage, pelf, and wealth to the Communist worthies at ICHR. As the aforementioned news report indicates, no one in the ICHR seems to have the remotest idea of exactly how much this project has sucked: it is truly the black hole of national waste.
Indeed, whatever I've mentioned about the ICHR's sordid record owes entirely to exactly one expose by Arun Shourie, the classic Eminent Historians: Their Technology, Their Line, Their Fraud published in 1998. To quote from the late N.S. Rajaram's review of the book,
When Shourie exposed the shocking skullduggery in the Towards Freedom project in comprehensive detail, here was his estimate of the wastage and criminal swindling of public money back then.
One can only calculate the further wastage for the balance period from 1998 to now, given that it has still remained incomplete. And then there's the minor matter of pilferage of taxpayer money. Again, we can turn to Shourie for just one representative sample in the person of Bipan Chandra. Here's how it panned out:
However, the story still doesn't end here.
To be continued
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