Kutch has a long history, extending up to Harappan era. It has remained multi-faceted across ancient to middle to contemporary times. It is also not, further segmented to eras, like Slave era, Lodi era or Moghul era, akin to history of India. It seems to be clearly demarcated along the ancient period, pre- & post – Jadeja periods and post-Independence period. It has been devoid of many upheavals and is quite peaceful, more because only family-lineage had ruled during Jadeja period.
Lack of extensive documentation is one of the major constraints in the research on Kutch history. There is dearth of, even, notes, particularly the published ones. As result of this inadequate documented information, it is not uncommon to observe several gaps in certain periods. The research to fill up these gaps is in itself a great challenge.
It is not that, the history of Kutch is not written till now. Many foreign and indigenous historians have published books on Kutch history. Many doctoral theses are also being pursued. But, still, the efforts are not systematic.
A look at the published work shows that most of these seem to be inspired by the State. Even as this seems obvious, it still presents one-dimensional view point. There are some books based on folk history, which in turn call for discretion in differentiating fact from the fiction.
Even the current efforts also seem to be one-dimensional. Some schools of thoughts relate to only Hindu or Muslim or even anti-Monarchy points of views. Some researchers have evaluated the whole with reference to a particular aspect. But, all these works remain presentations of partial viewpoints. History has to be documented as objective chronology of facts only and not as narration of any particular viewpoint, pro-or anti-stances or those of faiths or of isms or of religions.
Some efforts have presented Kutch history in the form of folk history or as a treatise to oppose the monarchy or to misrepresent the monarchy. However, there is no gainsaying that history of Kutch has hovered around monarchy. The common populace has always remained both devoted to Monarchy and docile, making it difficult to avoid references to monarchy. Indeed, it is desirable to write the political or cultural or social or religious history of Kutch, but this remains referenced to the then King only, because of his perennial all-pervasive influence. The state of peace or turmoil, progress or staleness seems to be dependent on the Monarch. This makes Monarchy unavoidable, yet making imperative that Monarchy is evaluated objectively, with due importance to other aspects of the then society. It is also necessary to avoid being one-dimensional or biased. Hence, the task should better be assigned to those who are well-versed with the systematic approach. ‘Cultural History of Gujarat’ should be benchmarked as standard reference.
In order to avoid history becoming too voluminous, it may so naturally happen that minor events either may not be covered at all or may get less space allotted. This is not desirable, since these minor events have their own importance in the history. One solution is to compile two sets of streams – one main history volume which only records all events of the entire period and the other one as supplementary reference books, dealing with events or individuals, not covered in details in the main volume. This second stream of historical reference books can be further expanded to include events or individuals in the subsequent ranks of importance. Thus these reference books can be utilized to understand the events not covered in details in the main history volume. The researchers or readers also can use these references for detailed information regarding these events. Many such reference books, like Maharao Raidhanji, The British in Kutch, Contribution of Gandhi era in the freedom fight etc., have been so published too. These can be reviewed and taken up for any required – additions /deletions – editing to modernize them. This will provide opportunity for imparting due recognition and interpretation to some of the minor events,
The documentation of our cultural history is almost sketchy, leaving out studies of social undercurrents or the psyche of the populace. Hence, extensive research of social, psychological and /or anthropological studies is certainly called for. Similarly, the statistical history of the post-independence development is quite scattered, requiring integrated compilation. The comparative historical evaluation also calls for due attention.
In short, compilation of the history is quite an arduous task, difficult to expedite and certainly not to be done in haste. A full-fledged competent institution, with requisite funds and resources, like separate teams of expert historians, teams to monitor effectiveness of systematic approach etc., on sustainable continuity basis, needs to be established. The technical teams should be provided freedom from the undue interference of the administration. The biases or preconceived notions of providers of the funds also are required to be prevented from influencing or controlling the technical experts. As an analogy, “Kutch History Trust” can be constituted on the lines similar to “Vishwakosh Trust”.
This task is quite critical and requires to be taken up without any delay. It is necessary to transform the laudatory activities being undertaken by Kutch University or Kutch Development Council into – autonomous, systematic, institutionalized – sustainable mechanism. It should have full operational autonomy and the complete objectivity in documenting the history as its founding principles. It should have no room for personal prejudices, which has caused enough damage and distortions in the past.
Let us wish that writing of the history of Kutch proceeds in right earnest. Broad-based public discussions are also welcome.
— Translation of Chapter ‘ક્ચ્છના ઇતિહાસના લેખન સંદર્ભે’ @ pages # 69 -71
From the book: “કચ્છઃ વિહંગાવલોકન”
First Edition: July 2011
Author: Haresh Dholakia firstname.lastname@example.org
Publishers: Goorjar Granthratna Karyalay email@example.com
ISBN 987 -81-8480-596-3