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'Towards Freedom' project revived

By Anita Joshua

NEW DELHI, SEPT. 20. The decks have been cleared for the revival of the 10-volume Towards Freedom project of the Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR).

The National Democratic Alliance Government stalled the project, initiated in 1973 during the Indira Gandhi regime. An experts committee — set up by the ICHR to decide the fate of the project — today cleared the publication of the two volumes withheld by the previous regime and decided to facilitate its early completion.

In the case of the volumes edited by K.N. Panikkar and Sumit Sarkar, which were withdrawn from the publishers in early 2000, the panel took cognisance of the reports submitted by another review committee set up in 2002 but decided they were not binding on the editors. It also decided that the third completed volume — edited by Bimal Prasad — be sent to the press for publication.

In 2000, the ICHR "temporarily withheld" publication of the volumes edited by Prof. Panikkar and Prof. Sarkar. Allegations flew thick and fast that the Bharatiya Janata Party-led NDA did not want them printed because they contained material showing the Hindu Mahasabha in a poor light.

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