October 28, 2016

India - No lessons learnt from 1947: Professor Irfan Habib

The Times of India

No lessons learnt from 1947: Irfan Habib
Vishakha Chaman | TNN | Oct 25, 2016, 15:56 IST

CHANDIGARH: "The lessons of 1947 are yet to be learnt. Had they been learnt the massacre of Sikhs in 1984 would not have taken place, nor massacre of Muslims in Gujarat in 2002." This is what noted historian and scholar Professor Irfan Habib from Aligarh Muslim University highlighted in his speech emailed to Panjab University. The speech was a part of the two-day National Seminar on 'Changing India: State, Society and Religion' started at Panjab University (PU) here on Monday.

The national seminar is being organized by Institute of Social Sciences Education and Research in honour of former GNDU vice-chancellor and PU Gian Rattan Awardee Professor J S Grewal for his contribution to historical scholarship.

In the keynote address sent by email, Habib raised some important points about the history of Punjab from the earliest times to the present. He pointed out that the textbook assumption of the caste system having originated and evolved all over India simultaneously needs to be revised.

PU vice-chancellor, Professor Arun Kumar Grover inaugurated the seminar and thanked the galaxy of academicians for their participation in the seminar. He said that ISSER is perhaps the first institution of its kind in the country. He highlighted the importance of social sciences in understanding the past as well as the present.

Formerly PU vice-chancellor, Professor MM Puri was the guest of honour on this occasion. He highlighted that Professor Grewal has made a seminal contribution to the study of Indian history. He has produced pioneering studies and lent depth, form, and respectability to regional history nowhere else reached in India.

Prof Grewal underlined that the seminar was an important event in his life. He stated that the contributions proposed to be made to the seminar by the social scientists who have graced this occasion with their presence would enrich the various aspects of this subject of vital importance to all citizens of India.

The coordinator of ISSER and Convenor of the seminar, Professor Reeta Grewal stated that the basic idea of the seminar was to bring together eminent social scientists to initiate a discussion on the theme of change in India in terms of interrelationships between State and Society, State and religion and religious developments and their social implications, from the perspective of their specific disciplines.