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India sliding into neo-imperialism: VS

C. Gouridasan Nair

67th session of the Indian History Congress begins at Farook College

FEROKE (Kozhikode): Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan has said that India is sliding into the grip of neo-imperialism because of the economic and cultural regime that globalisation has brought about.

Inaugurating the 67th Session of the Indian History Congress at Farook College here on Saturday, Mr. Achuthanandan said the celebration this year of the 150th anniversary of the revolt of 1857 had a special significance in the prevailing situation in India because it gave the people an occasion to express the country's opposition to neo-imperialism. "The dissemination of the anti-colonial message of the revolt has contemporary significance," he said and called upon the historians participating in the conference to ``celebrate the year of the great revolt.''

The Chief Minister said he had noticed that history as a discipline had been in turmoil during the last few years. "The information that I have gathered is both alarming and encouraging. Alarming because it is reported that there has been an attempt to subvert secular historical writing and supplant it with communal interpretation. Attempts were made to rewrite textbooks on communal lines and to use institutions like the Indian Council for Historical Research for propagating communal interpretation. Manuscripts of well-known historians were suppressed and Hinduised and mythified history was propagated... . I highly appreciate the consistent and courageous fight put up by the members of the Indian History Congress against this nefarious move," Mr. Achuthanandan said.

J.V. Naik takes over

Earlier, J.V. Naik, Professor of History, took over as General President of the Indian History Congress. Historian Irfan Habib proposed his name for the post. Calicut University Vice-Chancellor Anwar Jahan Zuberi released a souvenir brought out to mark the 67th session of the IHC, which is the fourth to be held in Kerala and the first to be held under the auspices of a college. Hundreds of delegates from all over India and neighbouring countries are attending the three-day conference, which would see around 600 papers on Ancient India, Medieval Indian, Modern India, Countries Other Than India and Archaeology being presented.

Speaking to The Hindu , Prof. Irfan Habib said the significance of the conference lay in the way it affords the opportunity to researchers across India to showcase their findings in their subject areas before their peers and the world. Stands on larger issues are taken mostly outside the conference as had happened when the Indian History Congress came out strongly against the Emergency and demolition of the Babri Masjid, he pointed out.

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