Monday, December 30, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Historians ‘must’ expose misdeeds

Amritsar, December 29
Writing of contemporary history should be aimed at exposing and challenging the misdeeds of established epicentres of powers both at the global and national levels. This was stated by historian Barun De.

Delivering the S.C. Mishra Memorial Lecture on the second day of the Indian history congress being held at Guru Nanak Dev University here, he launched an attack on politicians and said: “Historians ought to be daring enough to write about the misdeeds of political parties or the party in power”.

To him, dependable sources of history writing were not official archives, but what people expressed or narrated in the form of folk traditions, rituals, letters, memoirs, literary works, cinema and theatres.

The proceedings of the congress are being conducted in eight sections devoted to ancient India, medieval India, modern India, history of countries other than India, Punjab history, archaeology, the idea of India and urban history.

On the panel on Punjab history chaired by Dr J.S. Grewal, former Vice-Chancellor of Guru Nanak Dev University, the focus was on the formation of Sikh identity and the crises of Sikh identity.

It was argued that non-violence was the running thread and dominant creed of all Sikh movements. “Moderation had its full sway over Sikh psyche. Whenever a radical got pitted against the moderate one, the moderates dominated,” he said.

In his presidential address on “medieval India section”, Mr S.P. Verma of Aligarh Muslim University highlighted the symbiotic relationship between 19th century Indian art and the Mughal school of painting.

According to him, Mughal school was closely related with the humanism found in Renaissance art of Europe and later on influenced the nationalist artistic expressions in India, particularly in Bengal.

Ms Mariam Dossal of the University of Mumbai, in her presidential address emphasised the need for professional expertise, popular participation and political will so as to ensure that the “urban boom” might not turn into “urban doom”.

She also laid stress upon diversity of life in the cities. “In order to manage cities, their cultural diversities need to be managed first”, she said.

Delivering the presidential address in the archaeology section on the theme “Rock art of India — A historical perspective”, V.H. Sonawane of M S University, Baroda, said rock art represented the largest body of evidence we possess of humanity’s artistic, cognitive and cultural beginning.

It occurred in most countries of the world having served as an almost universal expression and communication of human thought since the lawn of humanity, he said. PTI


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