M. G. S. Narayanan
Muttayil Govindamenon Sankara Narayanan (Malayalam: മുറ്റയില് ഗോവിന്ദമേനോന് ശങ്കരനാരായണന്) (also known as M.G.S.), born on 20 August 1932, is a historian, academic and a former Chairman of the Indian Council of Historical Research.
MGS Narayanan had his primary education in Kerala and later moved to Madras to pursue his Master’s degree in History from the Madras Christian College. He topped the University of Madras in his post graduation in 1953 and later went on to complete his Ph.D. from the University of Kerala in 1973. His thesis titled Perumals of Kerala was published in 1996. He studied ancient scripts like Brahmi, Vattezhuttu and Grantha and is well versed in classical Sanskrit and ancient South Indian scripts.
Narayanan started his academic career in 1965 at the Post Graduation Centre of Kerala University at Calicut. Later, when the University of Calicut was established in 1968, he served in the Department of History in various positions before retiring in 1992 as Dean of Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, a post he held from 1970.
He held academic positions in MG University, Kottayam and Mangalore University in India and also served abroad in various foreign universities, notable among them being the Institute of Oriental Studies, Moscow University, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London and Tokyo University of Foreign Studies.
MGS served as First Member Secretary of the Indian Council of Historical Research under Irfan Habib in 1990-92 and later as its Chairman from July 2001 to December 2003.He was forced out by the NDA-led government of India due to differences in opinion over what he termed "squandering public funds for promoting communal schemes in the field of historical research". His tenure at the helm of ICHR, where he oversaw the publishing of nearly 40 books was praised for his competence by his contemporaries like RS Sharma.
Since 1969, he was member of Executive Committee of the Indian History Congress and later went on to become its General Secretary during 1982-85. He was President of Indian History and Culture Society (2001) and member of academic bodies like Journal of Indian History, Indian Historical Review etc.
Research and publications
He has published numerous research papers in national and international journals. In 1994 he served as Chief Editor of Malabar, a compilation of research extracts brought out over the last century. He was also an observer in excavations in Kodungallur (1969–70) and discovered and published the Bindusara Brahmi inscription of Sanchi and many medieval Vattezhuttu inscriptions of Kerala.
The more prominent among his works include:
- Aspects of Aryanisation in Kerala (1973)
- Re-Interpretations in South Indian History (1977)
- Historical studies in Kerala (1976) - co-authored with K. K. N. Kurup
- The people's plan: a debate on Kerala's decentralised planning experiment(1997) - co-authored with N. P. Chekkutty
- Foundations of South Indian Society and Culture (1994)
- Cultural Symbiosis in Kerala (1972)
- Kerala through the Ages (co-authored; 1976)
- Perumals of Kerala (1996)
- Calicut: The City of Truth Revisited (2006)
He has also published many books in Malayalam, including:
- India Charitra Parichayam(1969)
- Sahitya Aparadhangal(1970)
- Kerala Charitrathinte Adisthaana Silakal(1971 & 2001)
- Kozhikkodinte Katha(2001)
- Vanjeri grandhavari(1987)