Two officer bearers of RSS-backed Akhil Bharatiya Itihas Sankalan Yojana (ABISY) and a former professor who unsuccessfully contested Lok Sabha elections in Manipur last year on a BJP ticket candidate find place in the reconstituted team of Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR).
In a marked departure from previous convention, none of the old faces were retained in the council.
Though the new team comprises academicians dealing mostly in ancient Indian history, two ABISY office-bearers -- Narayan Rao, a professor at Berhampur University in Odisha, and Ishwar Sharan Vishwakarma, a professor of Ancient History, Archaeology and Culture at Gorakhpur University -- have also been included.
The process of reconstitution of the new council for the next three years was on for quite sometime as the term of the council had expired in December last year. The reconstitution came against the backdrop of criticism that the government was on path to saffronise education.
Sources in the HRD Ministry said it is the prerogative of the government to decide on the new members of the council.
They also pointed to reconstitution of the council during the tenure of Murli Manohar Joshi when the council had been entirely revamped without retaining old members.
The 18 member-council has names such as professor emeritus of South Asian Archeology Dilip K Chakarbarti, professor of History of University of Calicut V V Haridas, former professor and HoD in University of Kalyani Nikhilesh Guha and HoD of Department of Buddhist Studies of University of Jammu Baidyanath Labh.
Other members include associate professor of Delhi University's Gargi College Meenakshi Jain and former associate professor of Delhi's Hansraj College Saradindu Mukherjee, both of whom have been critical of the Left for its alleged influence on academic matters.
Dean faculty of Social Sciences of Vikram University Ujjain professor Rahman Ali, former professor of Jadavpur University Kolkata Purabi Roy, Guest faculty of IIT Gandhinagar Michael Danino are the other new members in the council.