Born as a facilitating group in support of the peace movement in West Bengal, particularly during the Third Joint Conference of the Pakistan-India Peoples Forum for Peace and Democracy – an unprecedented public gathering of 400 peace activists of the sub-continent for 4 days in Calcutta in 1996 – the Mahanirban Calcutta Research Group is now known as the Calcutta Research Group (CRG). The founders were a group of researchers, trade unionists, feminist thinkers and womens rights campaigners, academics, journalists, and lawyers. This was to be a forum for policy discussion and analysis on issues of democracy, human rights, peace, and justice.
Developing as a forum of mostly young public activists and socially committed researchers, CRG is now well-known for its research, dialogues, and advocacy work. It has carved out a niche for itself in the scholar-activist world for its policy studies on autonomy, human rights, womens dignity, issues of forced displacement and migration, peace and conflict resolution, citizenship, borders and border-conflicts, and other themes relevant to democracy. The emphasis that CRG places on the East and the Northeast in its research and dialogues has now resulted in a strong network of scholars, activists, and institutions in the region.