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

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Pioneering Psephologist and Scholar Extraordinaire

Ramashray Roy (1927–2020) was an eminent political scientist who had served as director of the Indian Council of Social Science Research, New Delhi. Among his well-remembered works are the studies on the 1998, 1999, 2004 and 2009 parliamentary elections. He was also intensely interested in Mithila culture and had set up an intellectual centre in Ranti village in Madhubani district of Bihar.

Social Science Research:The Real Challenge

The sacking of the ICSSR chief, M L Sondhi, needs to be located in the wider picture of how we have so far sought to organise and manage our research enterprises. More than the idiosyncratic behaviour of those involved, or the fallouts of warring factions within the Sangh parivar, the greater danger is the continuing loss of autonomy, accountability and creativity within the wider research community. We need to realise that the ICSSR system today plays a marginal role in the world of ideas and use the opportunity of a pluralised donor market to re-invent our ways of working and organising ourselves, including forcing the government to re-examine the basic memorandum of understanding it has with the ICSSR. This, more than concern about the fate of M L Sondhi, remains the real challenge.

ICSSR: Beyond the Controversies

The Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR) was not so much in the news for having completed three decades of its existence in July last year, as it has been since. So much so, that Partha S Ghosh, a senior director at the ICSSR and distinguished social scientist himself, was compelled to air his anguish in the EPW (February 17, 2001). Unfortunately, by giving the whole controversy a ‘saffronising’ twist, which seems to have misled the social science community and has been uncritically lapped up by prominent media personalities, the ICSSR chairman has made the confusion worse confounded.

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