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Decision to merge directorates ill-advised: Dr Choudhury

By AJIT PATOWARY
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GUWAHATI, July 7 - Leading archaeologist-cum-museologist of the country Dr Rabin Dev Choudhury has resented the decision of the State Government to merge the Directorate of Historical and Antiquarian Studies (DHAS) with the Directorate of Museums as an ill-advised one.

The State government is misled by the imprudent recommendation of the Seventh Pay Commission in this respect. In fact, the recommendation of the Pay Commission to close seven directorates is a preposterous one. The Commission has made this recommendation with a view to cut Government�s expenditure. But it has not bothered to scrutinize the exact areas where the Government is making lavish expenditures and thus making the development activities suffer a lot. Such expenditures are also against the advice of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to cut wasteful expenditures, said Dr Dev Choudhury. Dev Choudhury is presently the advisor of the Indian Art History Congress, he is also a former Director General of the National Museum, New Delhi.

He resented the fact that to arrive at the above decision to merge the DHAS with the Museum Directorate, the Government did not bother to consult the experts who may include the former Directors of Archaeology, State Museum, the Departments of History and Archaeology of the State�s universities and other scholars of repute in the areas of history, antiquarian studies and social sciences.

The DHAS has by now emerged as an indispensable part of Assam�s academic heritage and culture. It is 90 years old now and it was set up with the mandate to become a hub for the research on Assam�s socio-economic, socio-political and cultural history on June 25, 1928. Historian of the stature of Dr SK Bhuyan developed it as an institution of international repute. His legacy was followed by scholars like Dr PC Choudhury. But it is the apathy of the Government that has led this glorious institute to its present appalling state.

The State Museum was established by the Kamrup Anusandhan Samiti and it was formally taken over by the State Government on April 21, 1940. The Directorate of Museum was formed in 1984 after bifurcation of the Archaeology Department from the Museum in view of the difference in their mandates. This facilitated establishment of district museums and to lay more stress on preserving art and archaeological objects by the Museum Directorate. On the other hand, the Archaeology Directorate was entrusted with the responsibility to conserve in-situ the historical objects and the sites of archaeological importance, among others.

In the meantime, there is a Gauhati High Court order to appoint the senior most officer of the DHAS as its director. If the DHAS and the Museum Directorate are merged, this will lead to another legal tangle. Those who advised the Government to merge both the Directorates perhaps overlooked this or have tried to hush up this fact.

Taking all these facts into consideration, the government should revoke its decision to merge the DHAS with the Museum Directorate and develop both the DHAS and the Museum Directorate as independent institutions of repute.

Likewise, the government should also maintain the present status of the Editor in-chief of the District Gazetteers, which was established by the Britishers and was once led by historians like KN Dutta and PC Choudhury. The District Gazetteers and the Language Implementation Department, which have major roles assigned in our society, should also be retained and be developed as independent entities of repute by respectively appointing historians and linguists in the greater interest of historical and linguistic research in this part of the globe, said the noted scholar.

A nation, which fails to keep its national institutions vibrating, cannot survive. We should learn from the Western countries and also from our neighbours. These countries and states have been taking utmost care in developing all their institutions that have made any significant contribution to their society, and, such efforts of theirs have been paying off, he asserted.

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Decision to merge directorates ill-advised: Dr Choudhury

GUWAHATI, July 7 - Leading archaeologist-cum-museologist of the country Dr Rabin Dev Choudhury has resented the decision of the State Government to merge the Directorate of Historical and Antiquarian Studies (DHAS) with the Directorate of Museums as an ill-advised one.

The State government is misled by the imprudent recommendation of the Seventh Pay Commission in this respect. In fact, the recommendation of the Pay Commission to close seven directorates is a preposterous one. The Commission has made this recommendation with a view to cut Government�s expenditure. But it has not bothered to scrutinize the exact areas where the Government is making lavish expenditures and thus making the development activities suffer a lot. Such expenditures are also against the advice of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to cut wasteful expenditures, said Dr Dev Choudhury. Dev Choudhury is presently the advisor of the Indian Art History Congress, he is also a former Director General of the National Museum, New Delhi.

He resented the fact that to arrive at the above decision to merge the DHAS with the Museum Directorate, the Government did not bother to consult the experts who may include the former Directors of Archaeology, State Museum, the Departments of History and Archaeology of the State�s universities and other scholars of repute in the areas of history, antiquarian studies and social sciences.

The DHAS has by now emerged as an indispensable part of Assam�s academic heritage and culture. It is 90 years old now and it was set up with the mandate to become a hub for the research on Assam�s socio-economic, socio-political and cultural history on June 25, 1928. Historian of the stature of Dr SK Bhuyan developed it as an institution of international repute. His legacy was followed by scholars like Dr PC Choudhury. But it is the apathy of the Government that has led this glorious institute to its present appalling state.

The State Museum was established by the Kamrup Anusandhan Samiti and it was formally taken over by the State Government on April 21, 1940. The Directorate of Museum was formed in 1984 after bifurcation of the Archaeology Department from the Museum in view of the difference in their mandates. This facilitated establishment of district museums and to lay more stress on preserving art and archaeological objects by the Museum Directorate. On the other hand, the Archaeology Directorate was entrusted with the responsibility to conserve in-situ the historical objects and the sites of archaeological importance, among others.

In the meantime, there is a Gauhati High Court order to appoint the senior most officer of the DHAS as its director. If the DHAS and the Museum Directorate are merged, this will lead to another legal tangle. Those who advised the Government to merge both the Directorates perhaps overlooked this or have tried to hush up this fact.

Taking all these facts into consideration, the government should revoke its decision to merge the DHAS with the Museum Directorate and develop both the DHAS and the Museum Directorate as independent institutions of repute.

Likewise, the government should also maintain the present status of the Editor in-chief of the District Gazetteers, which was established by the Britishers and was once led by historians like KN Dutta and PC Choudhury. The District Gazetteers and the Language Implementation Department, which have major roles assigned in our society, should also be retained and be developed as independent entities of repute by respectively appointing historians and linguists in the greater interest of historical and linguistic research in this part of the globe, said the noted scholar.

A nation, which fails to keep its national institutions vibrating, cannot survive. We should learn from the Western countries and also from our neighbours. These countries and states have been taking utmost care in developing all their institutions that have made any significant contribution to their society, and, such efforts of theirs have been paying off, he asserted.

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