Historian Dr. C.I. Issac, who has been felicitated with the Padma Shri at the age of 71, has always been approaching history from an indo-centric angle. After the prestigious acknowledgement, Dr Issac said that he regards the award as a great honour and recognition of his work as a social activist and historian for about 4.5 decades. Dr. Issac was born in the year 1962, in Kerala’s Karukachal, and is an alumnus of the History department at the NSS Hindu College, Changanassery.
He then worked as a History professor at the CMS College, Kottayam. Issac is also the chairperson of the focused group for social sciences for developing a national curriculum framework in line with the National Education Policy, 2020. He has also been a member of the Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR) since 2015.
In order to know more about the journey of Dr. Issac as an academician, and his outlook on Indian history, GoaChronicle asked him a number of questions.
Why do you think the term ‘classical India’ should be used in NCERT books rather than ‘Ancient India’?
‘Ancient’ means oldest. The supposed period was the golden age of Bharat, and scientists like Arya Bhatta, Varahamihira, etc. lived here. The Gupta period was the age of the Navaratnas, along with the Maurya period, Vedic period, and the Indus valley period being excellent chapters of our history. That is why I suggested for the Classical period/Golden Age of Bharat’s History to be recognized instead of puranic history.
How do you think the national curriculum framework should be shaped in line with the National Education Policy, 2020?
As far as teaching and studying the discipline of history is concerned, an Indo-centric approach should be followed for the same to be made possible.
Throw light on the recommendations made by the 3-member Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR) panel led by you.
The panel had recommended the removal of the names of the 387 Moplah rebels of the Moplah rebellion of 1921, including Variyamkunnath Kunjahamuhammad Haji and Ali Musliyar, from the list of 600-odd freedom fighters attached to the rebellion. All Moplah rebellions are communal in character. Hence, it was not the part of the National Movement.
How has your political stance affected you during your tenure as a professor?
My political stance and leaning had always led to total ostracism from the academic circles and I was always treated like an outcast.
How can you say that the RSS is not against any religion?
I can say so because of the 52 years of my personal interaction with the RSS. It is not communal but a national organization.
How did the RSS identify your talents and stand by you?
They identified my academic potential. Hence, they provided me with a vast canvas. It was the RSS which provided me with such facilities as a true Christian.