September 21, 2006

Single History Department in India

Menhir Rock in the campus of Hyderabad University


Do not React Sharply.

Kindly read what I write below.

Center of History and New Media on its Resource page claims a "Searchable database linking to roughly 1,200 history departments around the world. If a department has a web site, it’s here."(Lines in original taken from <> retrieved on September 21, 2006.)

In the above mentioned data base of 1200 sites of History Departments; and mind it that the CHNM claims that if there is a web site of a history department then it is there, there are 351 sites of History Departments from non-US location. These 351 sites are from rest of the world and every other continent is represent in that set. It also shows that there are 849 web sites of History Departments from within United States.

Out of 351 sites from non-US area there is only one site from India. It is a site of Department of History, School of Social Science of University of Hyderabad .

The site is maintained by Dr. Rekha Pande and Dr. MN Rajesh .

There are thirteen links on the site providing information on the Department, Faculty, Alumni, Funding etc. Among various facilities, the department claims to use computer based technologies as well as the Information Technology. In its future plans, the department proposes to start new courses like History of Information and Aesthetics, Gender History and such more programmes. In the link on "Recent Activities" they have displayed their activities. They may also start the digitization of rare sources and archives. However, there is nothing like original resources, display of original work by the department and digital sources on the line of democratization of Knowledge as it is being practiced by various history departments from US and many other countries.

On the whole, it was heartening to find that India is represented in the list of 1200 sites. The Hyderabad site is using ERNET resources, which is part of the project of EDUSAT in India that promotes the e-learning. But on the other hand, it is depressing to note that there is only one university in India and one Department of History who are able to understand the real meaning of the new technology and ICT. I have been writing about this aspect after deriving ideas and models from other universities. However, I was pained to learn that there are mere talks about e-learning and digitization of resources in India. I have browsed the sites of Punjabi University, Patiala, Punjab University, Chandigarh in its latest form, PTU Jalandhar, Kurushetra University, Thanesar, Gurukul Kangadi University and some more universities. They have made a link each on department of history. However, there is no separate site of the Department. I have made similar comments on Digital Library of India. In case of Delhi University, you find good material on the courses being run in the department of history. But this is no separate site of the department.

On the whole, I congratulate the University of Hyderabad as well as the Department of History of the University of Hyderabad for their vision and ability to learn and practice the real dimensions of the new technology. They have fulfilled an important requirement of EDUSAT programme and NAAC. I hope that they may soon improve upon their effort and bring some original work done by the department in digital form on the site itself which is an essential feature of the department sites of foreign university. This feature of digitization has imparted a concrete meaning to the activity of maintaining the site so that it can be made useful for the rest of the society. A simple web site does not fulfill any substantial purpose. It merely becomes an additional source of information about the existence of an identity. It does not achieve much by a mere display of a site. It becomes a ritual then and Indians are good in performing rituals and forgetting the real purpose of an act. It is then counted as a mere fad and commercial act of promoting oneself on cyberspace which profit seeking identities are undertaking in far better manner. I borrow the motive of the site of the History Department Around the World of CHNM and quote, "We hope that this list will help you find ideas for creating departmental web pages, let you look in on or locate colleagues, conduct historical research, or help out with a graduate or undergraduate application." (Retrived in original from <>on September 21, 2006.) This quote can convey the real purpose of such activities. In addition to that they may also encourage their illustrious faculty to write regularly on the site or through their own blogs about the projects they are undertaking and give the links to their weblog on the site itself. It will make the site more useful and popular.


Photograph source: Web site of Department of History, School of Social Sciences at of University of Hyderabad at

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