KURUKSHETRA: Raghuvendra Tanwar, professor emeritus, Kurukshetra University (KU) has been appointed as Chairman of the Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR), New Delhi, for a period of three years by the Government of India (GOI).
Prof Tanwar who joined KU as a lecturer in August 1977 has an outstanding academic record, with two gold medals in MA History. He was appointed an open selection professor in 1997 and has also worked as the KU’s dean of academic affairs and dean of social sciences. He superannuated in February 2015 and in July 2016 was appointed director of the Haryana Academy of History and Culture.
Prof Tanwar was awarded the prestigious UGC National Fellowship (Research Award) 2002-2005. He conducted a major research project on Jammu & Kashmir for the period 1947-53 in 2013-15.
Prof Tanwar is reputed for his study of India’s partition particularly Punjab. This work based on sources across India and the UK is a day-to-day reporting of what happened in 1947 and is widely acclaimed. His research and publication on Jammu & Kashmir while questioning major narratives particularly by western scholars has argued and established how the masses of Kashmir were clearly in support of the accession of the state with the Union of India in 1947.
Prof Tanwar’s most recent study is an illustrated Story of India’s Partition, published by the Publication Division of Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, GOI in English and Hindu. He has several other major publications including an illustrated biography of Bansi Lal and on Sir Chhotu Ram.
The central point that this volume makes is that much of what happened in Jammu & Kashmir in the critical first few years (1947-53) needs a more careful reassessment. It is argued that there were little voices of ordinary people that should have been heard but were ignored. The political discourse that took centre stage even as it appeared more assertive and representative of mass public opinion was, however, as is now clear only a clever and misleading political move.
Much of the source material upon which the author has based his study has till now remained unstudied and uncited – rare hard to find books, pamphlets, articles in journals, magazines and newspapers, official and party reports and so on. The volume takes the reader back in time to a kind of ring side seat. Kashmir’s cultural and historical legacy, the invasion, the issue of the plebiscite, the United Nations and the ceasefire, the Praja Parishad and most important of all the political scene and its key players – Prime Minister Nehru, Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee and Sheikh Abdullah. Based on the nature of its sources the volume breaks free of a stereotyped approach to understanding the origin of what we commonly term today as the ‘Kashmir problem’.
The volume argues that contemporary views recorded as they are in the heat of the moment with natural spontaneity often contain hidden lines and new light. Not surprisingly contemporary versions tell us a story very different from mainstream conventional writings on Jammu & Kashmir. This timely volume will radically influence the existing discourse on Jammu & Kashmir.