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No war record with NAI shocks historians


lekhaka-Deepak Tiwari


Google Oneindia News

As Congress was in power during the wars in 1962, 1965 and 1971 and it had been ruling the country for more than five decades, it has to take the blame for not sharing the records with the National Archive of India.

New Delhi, Dec 30: The assertion of National Archives of India (NAI) that it does not have the records of India’s three major wars – one with China in 1962 and two with Pakistan in 1965 and 1971 – has shocked the nation, especially the historians. For any civilized country, the records of wars are an important repository of historical facts. But the governments of that time failed in their duty to hand over the records to NAI.

In a statement recently, NAI Director-General Chandan Sinha revealed that it does not have the war records as well as that of the Green Revolution in its possession as they were never shared by the concerned ministries and departments. He further informed that NAI, the central repository of the government’s “non-classified” historical records, has not received any record for years now, and the Defence Ministry in particular has not done so since 1960.

No war record with NAI shocks historians

This, however, does not imply that the government has no files/records on such matters; it’s only that they have not been transferred to the NAI’s custody. The Defence Ministry has sent only 476 files since Independence till the beginning of this year.

Who is responsible

Needless to say that it looks like a conspiracy of the then Congress governments as, according to some historians, this could be a ploy to control the narrative. However, this is being done at the risk of losing the history as without the records it is difficult for historians to write a substantial history. These are the records that are used for authentic research that could be useful for public discourse and policy formation as well as a great experience for the future generations.

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The country is losing its history records and any single government could not be held responsible for it as this has been done by the successive governments over the years. However, since it’s the Congress that has been ruling the country for more than five decades and it was this party that was in power during all the four events, the responsibility lies with them to keep records of these wars.

Purpose behind holding back

Like the mismanagement in every aspect of the nation all these years after the British left India, Congress has done a huge injustice to the history and especially the history of the Indian military. It does not take much to transfer records of these wars. However, now it appears that the governments of those days abdicated their duty.

The records are obviously lying with the government now. The previous governments did not transfer them to NAI as they knew the importance of these records. It also means that they did not feel it necessary that the public should have access to such important records. It’s the incumbent Modi government that has finally decided to send the 476 files lying with the Defence Ministry to the NAI.

Modi govt declassifies war records

For any democratic country, it’s important that their citizens have access to all kinds of information and the government is transparent in all its activities. Although Congress failed in doing justice to this dictum, the BJP government has made it sure that the important documents be put in the public domain. It has not only declassified the ‘Netaji files’ but also ensured that the common citizens have access to the war records.

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There is a requirement for the regular transfer of records from various ministries and government departments to the National Archives of India so that not just the records are safe but are available for the public as well. This should be done for good and transparent governance as holding back the public records is not healthy for public discourse and democracy.

Story first published: Friday, December 30, 2022, 12:30 [IST]

#war #record #NAI #shocks #historians

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