S.P. Gupta
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S.P. Gupta

Swaraj Prakash Gupta (S. P. Gupta, 1931-2007) was a controversial Indian archaeologist, who was closely associated with Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), a Hindu nationalist organisation.[1] He was the Chairman of Indian Archaeological Society and the Director of Allahabad Museum.[2]

A prominent face of the pro-temple camp in the Ayodhya dispute, Gupta had supported the demolition of the Babri Masjid:[3]-

He has been accused of collaborating with B. B. Lal in their organisational capacity, to ensure that the archaeological disputes of Ayodhya was not discussed at the World Archaeological Congress at Delhi in December 1994, which resulted in a barrage of criticism from multiple historians and archaeologists, for stifling free discourse.[1] At the subsequent congress in 1998, a resolution was adopted condemning the demolition of the Babri Masjid and denouncing the infusion of "racial, religious or national chauvinist claims" into the profession or archaeology; Lal and Gupta walked out after unsuccessfully trying to block the passage.[4]

The Indian Archaeological Society under Gupta's chairmanship, received considerable support from Vishva Hindu Parishad (a sister organisation of RSS) and had even organised a Press Conference in August 2003, where Gupta disclosed certain privileged contents of an ASI report about its excavations in Ayodhya, ten days before they were submitted to the Allahabad High Court in a sealed cover.[3]

The Indian Society for Prehistoric and Quaternary Studies had published a volume of papers in his honour in 2009.[5]


  1. ^ a b Bernbeck, Reinhard; Pollock, Susan (February 1996). "Ayodhya, Archaeology, and Identity". Current Anthropology. 37 (1): S138-S142. doi:10.1086/204467. JSTOR 2744239.
  2. ^ "Dr. S. P. Gupta". D. K. Printworld. Archived from the original on 26 December 2014. Retrieved 2014.
  3. ^ a b Romey, Kristin M. (2004). "Flashpoint Ayodhya". Archaeology. 57 (4): 48-55. JSTOR 41780923.
  4. ^ "The Hindutva takeover of ICHR". Frontline. 4 July 1998. Retrieved 2014.
  5. ^ Misra, V. N.; Kanungo, A. K. (2009). Dr. Swarajya Prakash Gupta : an academic and human profile. Pune: Indian Society for Prehistoric and Quaternary Studies. ISBN 9788190833004.

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