Cuttack: Urging historians to make the best use of the past, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Saturday said a proper understanding of history was necessary to ensure a better future for the country.
"We need the past because it never dies. It represents the cumulative store of human experience that sustains wisdom," Patnaik said while inaugurating the 74th session of the Indian History Congress (IHC) here.
Emphasising that history never stayed in the past, he said it instead engaged us at every twist and turn in our modern search for the future.
Hailing the contributions of IHC, Patnaik said this body of distinguished academicians guided people and governments by sharing the common memory of Indian society, its core values and the decisions of the past which account for our present circumstances.
"Since we live in a pluralistic world, an understanding of the history of the world`s many cultures can contribute to fostering mutual respect," he said.
Earlier, eminent historian Prof Indu Banga was elected the general president of the IHC session after her name was proposed by Prof Romila Thapar and seconded by Prof Irfan Habib.
Prof Banga, in her address, spoke about her journey in the field of research over the past 45 years and hoped that her endeavour would provide something interesting to inspire the young scholars of history.
While local secretary Prof Chandi Prasad Nanda made the introductory remarks, Ravenshaw University Vice-Chancellor Prof BC Tripathy delivered the welcome address.
During the inaugural session, Prof Thapar gave away prizes to the distinguished winners of the SK Barpujari award, Hiralal Gupta award and Md Habib award while Odisha higher education minister Badrinarayan Patra gave away prizes to the winners of paper presentations in different categories.