Shastanga Pranam to Prof. S.Krishnaswamy of MCC, Tambaram

23 Feb


23-02-2017, 05:13 hrs

My visit to Arcot on 17 Feb 2017 was a pilgrimage made 50 years after I sat mesmerised in the class of Prof. S.Krishnaswamy of Madras Christian College, Tambaram.

Prof. Krishnaswamy was a gentle and scholarly man and I recall visiting him in the staff room to talk about the Siege of Arcot, 1751. I can still conjure up his soft voice telling me emphatically… “If Robert Clive had not come out to India in 1744, I assure you quite emphatically that India or at least parts of modern India would have evolved as a French colony ruled from Pondicherry.” If that had happened, the UK would have no doubt been absolved of any compulsion to pay reparations to India!

I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the role of Prof. Krishnaswamy in stimulating my interest in Modern Indian History (from 1600 CE).

I have attached a scan of the Title Page of the prescribed text book for the BA History Course in 1967: AN ADVANCED HISTORY OF INDIA by R.C.Majumdar, H.C.Rayachaudhuri, Kalikinkar Datta, MacMillan 1967. This 50 year old book has begun to show its age, if not wear due to scholarly use.

I now own a fourth edition of this textbook (2001) with an Appendix on Bangladesh.

Prof. Krishnaswamy was commissioned circa 1969 through the Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR) to write the manuscript for the Time Capsule containing the first 25 years of Independent India’s history (1947-72). The Time Capsule, made of copper, was buried in the Red Fort complex on August 15, 1973 and was called “Kalpaatra”.This Time Capsule ran into controversies and when the Janata Party came to power in 1977 they had the Kalpaatra exhumed in fulfilment of one of the Janata Party’s election promises.

As expected, the Kalpaatra was reported to have glorified the role of Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi in the early days of Independent India.
It is not clear what happened to the Kalpaatra, but it is fairly well known that it cost Indira Gandhi only Rs. 8,000 to bury the Time Capsule, but it cost Morarji Desai’s Government Rs. 58,000 to unearth it.

(360 Words)


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One Response to “Shastanga Pranam to Prof. S.Krishnaswamy of MCC, Tambaram”

  1. Ravi February 23, 2017 at 8:05 am #

    I am recollecting my history lessons of Middle School & High School.

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