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Centre for Studies in Social Sciences

The Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta (CSSSC) is an autonomous research centre devoted to the research and advancement of the social sciences in South Asia. It is one of the leading social science think tanks in India and is also well known internationally. Soon after the General Election of 1972, the then Union Minister of State (with Independent Charges) of Education, Social Welfare, and Culture, Professor Saiyid Nurul Hasan, an eminent historian, appointed a national level committee, chaired by Professor Sukhomoy Chakravarty, then Member, Planning Commission. The committee consisted of Professor Bhabatosh Dutta, then Member of the Fifth Pay Commission and until then Education Advisor to the Governor of West Bengal, Professor J.P.Naik, then Education Adviser to the Government of India, Professor Surajit Sinha, then Director, Anthropological Survey of India, Calcutta, Professor Tapas Majumdar, then Professor of Economics, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi and Professor Barun De, Professor of History, Indian Institute of Management Calcutta, who was the youngest member of the committee. The committee was entrusted with the task of looking into the need to establish social science research institutes in India. On the recommendations of the committee, 27social science research institutes were set up under the aegis of the Indian Council of Social Science Research, New Delhi, with one located in Calcutta. Within one year of the recommendations, immediately after the General Elections, this plan was implemented on 1 February 1973 by Professor S. Nurul Hasan, who founded the Centre fior Studies in Social Sciences. Professor Bhabatosh Datta was appointed as the First-Chairman of the Executive Council, and Prof. Barun De was appointed as its First-Director. Prof. J.P. Naik also gave a great deal of assistance to the Centre in its early years. The Calcutta Centre could be set up with the active assistance of its early group of fellows which included Professor Amiya Bagchi, who joined two years after its founding in 1974, and Pro essor Partha Chatterjee, who joined three years after its founding in 1975. Both of them were recruited as Fellows by the Director, Prof. Barun De. Other scholars who joined the Centre at this time were Professor Ashok Sen, Professor Shibani Kinkar Chaube, Professor Nripendranath Bandopadhyaya, Professor Amalendu Guha, Professor Nirmala Banerjee, Professor Debesh Ray and Professor Indrani Ray. Most of these excellent scholars contributed ably to the vision set by Professor Nurul Hasan and carried forward by Professor Barun De. The First Registrar was Shri Susanta Ghosh who had earlier been a member of the administrative staff of IIM Calcutta. The Centre's logo was drawn by Smt. Romabai De, who had trained as an artist at Bristol and London. The Centre was initially set up in a few rooms at the back of the Anthropological Survey of India in Kolkata, of which Prof. Surajit Sinha was then the head. It was on Prof. Sinha's recommendation that the Centre could start in the few ante rooms of the Anthropological Survey of India. Meanwhile, search for a new building for the Centre had begun. The former residence of one of the doyens of Indian history, Sir Jadunath Sarkar (1870–1958) and his wife Lady Kadambini Sarkar (1880–1964), then a two storied house, at 10, Lake Terrace, Calcutta, was ideally suited for the setting up of the Centre. In her will Lady Kadambini stated that the house should be sold and the proceeds from it donated to a hospital. The ICSSR bought this house from the trustees of the will, and rented it to the Centre in 1973.[1]:1 The management of the Centre subsequently bought the house, during the Directorship of Prof. Barun De, and remained in it from January 26, 1973 to March 1, 2000, when the Centre was moved to its new premises at Baishnabghata-Patuli Township, Calcutta. The land on which the new building was built was bought in the early 1980s. A guest house and a resource Centre called Jadunath Sarkar Resource Centre for Historical Research have been set up inside Jadunath Bhavan, which continues to remain with the Centre.

 
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