Archives / November 28, 2016

Where are the Archives?

  • A note from the Indian Prime Minister – August 27, 1957
    I am not at all satisfied with the noting on this file by Intelligence or by the Director of Archives. The papers required are very old, probably over thirty years old. No question of secrecy should apply to such papers, unless there is some very extraordinary reason in regard to a particular document. In fact, they should be considered, more or less, public papers. To say that they can only be seen by research scholars is not very helpful. Any person can become a research student for a time. The mere fact that he is investigating some matter may make it necessary for him to look at some old papers. Also the fact that a Communist wants to see them is irrelevant.
  • Henderson-Brooks Report and the CIC
    By an application of 7-12-05 Shri Kuldip Nayar, Ex-M.P. of Vasant Vihar, New Delhi wrote to the CPIO, Ministry of Defence seeking the following information:
    “May I request you to make me available a copy of the Report by the Retired Lt. Gen Henderson-Brooks on the China-India War in 1962. This is now 43 years old and should have been formally available in the Archives of India, some 30 years after it was submitted to the Government of India. I hope I can now use my right given u8nderthe new law on ‘Right to Information’ to get copy.”
  • A Recent Order of the Central Information Commission
    We recommend that the Indian Navy and, in fact the Indian Armed Forces build up their storehouse of information, as mandated u/s 4(1) of the RTI Act, 2005 for disclosure at the appropriate time for the benefit of the students of India’s defence and to enhance the people’s trust in the armed forces’ undoubted capacity to ensure national security.
  • Hiding history from people – December 31, 2008 (Business Standard)
    (With Dr. Subroto Roy)
    The Government of India continues to hide India’s history from India’s people using specious excuses. An example is the Henderson-Brook report on the 1962 war, a single copy of which is said to exist locked away in the Defence Ministry. An anti-Indian author like Neville Maxwell is among the few ever given access to it; he has reiterated his factually incorrect theory (accepted by Henry Kissinger and Zhou Enlai and the US and Chinese establishments since) that the 1962 war was due to Nehru’s aggressive policy and China had no choice but launch a “pre-emptive attack”…
  • A nation that swallows its history – February 12, 2008 (
    At least for one thing, I love the United States: they meticulously and regularly declassify historic documents pertaining to their foreign policy.
    Is it not legitimate to know what our leaders have thought, done or written 30 years after the events? In the United States, people are entitled to have this information. But it is not so in India.
  • 10 things I hate about India – June 22, 2006 (Rediff)
    No access to historical documents: Though a better understanding of the history of the subcontinent could be one of the keys to disentangle difficult problems such as the Kashmir issue, today nobody can access primary sources. They are locked away in the vaults of the Nehru Memorial Library or the almirahs of South Block.
    All those who have tried to access historical documents since India’s independence will tell you that till the end of babudom, one bureaucrat or another will ensure that you do not access the dusty files. Without fail, you will be courteously informed that India’s security and integrity will be endangered if these precious documents are opened to the public. It is sad that Indians are not entitled to study their past (though they can always visit archives in the West to know more about India!)
  • Confiscated History – June 18, 2006 (New Indian Express)
    I believe that the study of the history of the sub-continent could be one of the keys to disentangling difficult problems such as the Kashmir issue. Unfortunately, nobody can today access the primary sources: they are locked in the vaults of the Nehru Memorial Library or in the almirahs of South Block. (I am told they are very dusty!)
  • The Confiscation of History – October 23, 2002 (Rediff)
    If someone asked me what is the greatest scam since Independence, I would have some difficulty in answering. But in the end, the one that I find the most stupid, and perhaps the most harmful to India’s interests in the long run, is the confiscation of history by government babus under the Public Records Act…
  • One More Irony – October 2, 2002 (Pioneer)
    What is amazing is the fact that Maxell, an India baiter, has managed to get hold of the Henderson Brooks report on the 1962 debacle to write his own version of history. Who, in India today, has seen the report? They can be counted on the fingers tips…

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