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Updated: August 24, 2009 20:52 IST

Jaswant claim on Jinnah lacks evidence: ICHR Chairman

Staff Reporter
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S. Sabyasachi Bhattacharya, the Chairman of Indian Council of Historical Research. File Photo: R. Ashok
The Hindu S. Sabyasachi Bhattacharya, the Chairman of Indian Council of Historical Research. File Photo: R. Ashok

The expelled BJP leader Jaswant Singhs description of Pakistans Founder Mohamed Ali Jinnah as a secular leader in his new book Jinnah -- India, Partition, Independence lacks credible evidence, according to S. Sabyasachi Bhattacharya, Historian and Chairman, Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR).

When queried on the issue during an informal chat with presspersons here on Monday, Prof. Bhattacharya preferred not to reply to the specific issue in his official capacity, deeming it a party matter. "However, my personal view is that Jaswant Singhs observation lacks evidence and novelty. The same points have already been expressed by others," he said.

Documentation of Towards Freedom, a multi-volume history of the freedom movement from 1939 to 1946 was almost over. By this year-end, the only remaining part pertaining to 1942 Quit India Movement will be readied.

To a question on the role ICHR could play in the wake of the Indian Governments helplessness in producing evidence to claim Mahatma Gandhis Memorabilia that was auctioned in New York, Prof. Bhattacharya said the Centre has not yet approached the Council on the issue. Citing the earlier instance of the Centre seeking the expertise of the ICHR to arrive at facts on the Ram Sethu issue, he explained that the Council has not acted suo moto so far.

Terming as "unfortunate" the dependence of historians on English sources, the ICHR Chairman informed that a series of conferences will be organised in the four Southern States to collate sources of information in non-English languages.

On the sense of alienation of people in the North-Eastern States, Prof. Bhattacharya observed that the perceived isolation was political in nature, and that the ICHR was doing its part by holding workshops of significance in that region.

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