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Scholars resent Govt move to merge two directorates


GUWAHATI, July 5 - The decision of the State government to merge the Directorate of Historical and Antiquarian Studies (DHAS) with the Directorate of Museum has drawn flak from scholars, who have termed the move as an imprudent one. They have warned that if implemented, it would prove to be detrimental to both the directorates.

They have appealed to the government to develop both the directorates as full-fledged independent departments with expansion of their scope of activities in keeping with the demand of the present times.

It needs mention that the State government had on Monday decided to merge the Directorate of Historical and Antiquarian Studies with the Directorate of Museum. Official circles here had described the decision as a major one.

An official press release on Monday had said that the decision was �taken to bring in semblance with the mandate of both the directorates so that the works of preservation, display, research and communication for the purpose of study, education and enjoyment of the cultural objects of this State can be stimulated and brought under single umbrella.�

Reacting to the State government�s decision, former president of Asam Sahitya Sabha and renowned litterateur Prof Nagen Saikia described it as an unjust one. This has hurt the academic pride of Assam, he said.

The DHAS is part of our history and tradition. Scholars like Dr Surya Kumar Bhuyan, Dr Pratap Chandra Choudhury and several others built this directorate with incredible efforts. It is also connected with the hallowed memories of the renowned Handiqui family. At a time when it needed support for expanding the scope of its activities, the government came up with a shocking decision concerning its fate.

Again, the present state of affairs in the State Museum is also not satisfactory. Both these directorates need expansion of the scope of their activities and to be developed as full-fledged independent departments in keeping with the requirement of the present era, said Prof Saikia.

Saddened by the State government�s decision, renowned scholar Prof Pramod Bhattacharyya said the government should have consulted experts, the families of the late Radhakanta Handiqui and Dr SK Bhuyan, among others, before arriving at any decision on the DHAS.

Prof Bhattacharyya pointed out that the DHAS has played a major role in the area of historical and antiquarian studies and has been able to set a tradition. It has published a lot of important research papers and valuable books. It has thus made immense contribution towards the Assamese society. It is not an institution to be trifled with, he said.

Noted folklorist Prof Nabin Sarma described the decision as an illogical one. The merger will affect both the DHAS and the Directorate of Museum, as, both of them have separate mandates, he asserted.

Noted historian Prof Rajen Saikia said though institutions like the DHAS are seemingly academic ones, essentially they are very much part of our social and political existence. These institutions have been serving as indispensable parts of our national life since long.

Dr SK Bhuyan had put in his best efforts to build up this directorate with support from the government and the public at large. �We hope the government will reconsider its decision,� said the historian.

Former Professor of history, Gauhati University, Bharati Baruah said the DHAS should have been built as an independent A-grade institution with improved facilities. Its merger with the Directorate of Museum would be detrimental to both the institutions, she said.

Associate Professor of history, GU, Uttam Bathari said the identity of the DHAS should not be diluted; rather it should be provided all sorts of support to create a proper atmosphere for its development into a modern institution considering the fact that the scope of historical and antiquarian studies has now been enhanced enormously.

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