Implications of Partition on Protohistoric Investigations in the Ghaggar-Ganga Basins
The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the protohistoric archaeological activities in the Ghaggar-Ganga basins in the post-independence era in terms of the legacy of partition and the scientific imperatives of the discipline. This further intends to assess the relative influence of the communal hang-ups of partition and of our constitutional obligations to archaeological pursuits, especially1 official investigations.
Amateur archaeological activities in our country enjoy a fairly long history, while the history of official archaeology begins with the establishment of the Archaeological Survey of India in 1861 under the leadership of General A. Cunningham. It was about 90 years before India attained independence in 1947. During this long span it passed through several hands and stages and finally fell into the hands of Mortimer Wheeler in 1944 as per the recommendation of a review committee headed by Leonardo Wholley and he worked as the Director General of the Archaeological Survey of India till 1948. This was a crucial period of history, for, on the one hand, the entire world was still in the grip of the Second World War and, on the other, our country itself was passing through a tortuous phase of transfer of power amidst fratricidal bloodshed. The Survey had already experienced a general retrenchment of the staff, abolition of the excavation branch and partial suspension of publications under the impact of world recession in 1932.2 The general state of archaeological sciences of the time was summarized by Ghosh:
About the nature of excavation there was no general tendency to dig deep to the natural soil, the attention being dominated by the structural remains in the upper layers. The personnel were well intentioned but
* Reader in History, Swami Shradhanand College, University of Delhi, Delhi.
Social Scientist, Vol. 28, Nos. 1 - 2, Jan. - Feb. 2000