ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Destroying Historical Records

There have been reports in the media suggesting that a very large number of files in the Ministry of Home Affairs have been destroyed, ostensibly in the interest of efficiency and space-management. According to reports these include the file containing records of the cabinet meeting which took place just before the news of Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination was formally announced.

The Government of India usually follows a record retention schedule. Moreover in the case of files containing documentation of the historically crucial period just after Independence the documents must be treated as sacrosanct, and must be preserved as such, change of governments notwithstanding. Historians might differ in their interpretations of momentous events like the assassination of Gandhi (1948) or the imposition of Emergency (1975), but for any sane debate and contest of ideas, preservation of and access to official documents and records is a must.

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