Panel ignored important initiatives taken by ICPR: Ramakrishna Rao

The observations of the Miri Committee in its report submitted to the Central government on the Indian Council of Philosophical Research (ICPR) were non-objective, unfair and biased, council chairman K. Ramakrishna Rao said here on Wednesday.

Mr. Rao said the recommendation of creating a humanities council and merging the ICPR into it was impractical. Dubbing the proposal “disingenuous and regressive,” he said it would in no way help promote philosophical research in the country.

He admitted that inter-disciplinary philosophical research was of utmost importance. “There is no good reason to think that such research would be facilitated by the proposed humanities council. The government may wish to establish an Indian council of humanities research on the lines of the Indian Council of Social Sciences Research, but not a merger.”

Separate council

The committee, comprising Mrinal Miri and Rajeev Bhargava, was constituted in October 2010 to review the functioning of the ICPR in the last five years. The council did not have a credible mechanism to monitor its research programme, it said.

“The decision to establish a separate council for philosophy and history was taken after careful thought by the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. History and philosophy are different from all other conventional disciplines, but they relate to every other discipline. Therefore, there is no need for a separate council for them,” Mr. Rao said.

Referring to the committee's observation that the ICPR's performance in the past five years was disappointing, he said, it had completely ignored several important initiatives taken by the ICPR to promote philosophical research. “These include proposals to establish the Indian Institute of Philosophy, promotion of inter-disciplinary research and to develop regional centres of the ICPR in regional languages.”

On the setting up of a collegium with distinguished professors from abroad, he said, “It is not feasible to bring them on a regular basis, but we have initiated the movement by instituting the lifetime achievement award and have been including them whenever and wherever possible.”

On the criticism of the selection process, Mr. Rao said Professor Miri was himself the former chairman of the ICPR and he knew that the power of nominating members to the governing body, co-opt at least four members in the council and to nominate members to the research committee vested with the chairman. This had been discussed threadbare earlier.