Scholars from the Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR) will soon be scanning through Sanskrit texts like "puranas" and "folk ballads" to prepare a historical encyclopedia of villages and towns in the country.
According to the ICHR, an autonomous body of the HRD ministry, the encyclopedia will form basis for research and development of architectural designs.
"The religious, spiritual, social, historical and cultural significance of a kshetra or sthala are recorded as puranas. The life and works of a great saint/king/devotee are also available to us in puranas or folk ballads. We should not ignore the responsibility to collect, preserve and transmit this knowledge of history for generations to come," ICHR Chief Yellapragada Sudershan Rao told reporters today.
"Every inch of place in India is said to have its own remarkable place either in history or spirituality. Therefore, Indians hold every piece of land in the country in a very high esteem. The project endeavours to give peoples' true history to them without disturbing their cultural ethos," he added.
The project was launched after the Council approved a detailed proposal and budget estimates during its 82nd meeting in March.
The project is intended to collect the information of each village and town so that their profiles could be placed on web-based encyclopedia for reference.
"As this is a massive nation-wide endeavor, the students of history will be taken as apprentices as 'bare-foot historians' and will be encouraged to collect information of the villages or khsetras around them and write their brief reports.
"They will be paid some remuneration so that they can earn while learning. These reports will be perused and edited by the subject experts and put up to a uniform pattern for web publication," said Rao, who is also a member of the Akhil Bharatiya Itihas Sankalan Yojana, the RSS's history wing.
Other new projects being undertaken by the ICHR, are on varied subjects including 'Translation of foreign language sources of India', 'Environmental history of India', 'History of Indian Science and Technology' and 'Project on Modern India: Politics and Demography'.
The ICHR in its last meeting also approved setting up of two regional centres in Kashi and Jammu.
"Earlier we intended to set up the Kashmir centre in Srinagar but we did not hear anything from Kashmir University. After the central university in Jammu expressed its interest in the proposal we decided to set up the centre in Jammu," Rao said.
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