A premier national institution of repute, Anthropological Survey of India is the one and the only one of its kind anywhere in the world to pursue Anthropological research in a Governmental setup. The Anthropological Survey of India's genesis was from the Zoological and Anthropological section of the Indian Museum, which became the Zoological Survey of India in 1916. In 1945, Anthropology section of the Zoological Survey was carved out to become the Anthropological Survey of India (An.S.I) with Dr B.S.Guha as the founding Director, appointed in 1946. The head office was shifted from Benaras to Calcutta in 1948.
Much prior to the establishment of the An.S.I, almost since the beginning of the last century, the unparalleled diversity of the people of this ancient land has come to the notice for a study of every cognoscenti interested in the Indian people, their culture, social institutions and above all their ethnic affinities. Efforts were made to understand the people, in a scientific way, not only for the furtherance of scientific knowledge per se but for its application towards the country's needs and also to its national well being. The An.S.I rose to every occasion to contribute its might, through its mandate of pursuing research in socio-cultural and biological aspects of the Peoples of India in a holistic perspective, with an emphasis on the matters of contemporary relevance and National significance.
After Independence, the need to bring in harmony among the people separated by the clashing interests of ethnic, cultural and religious affiliations and to devise ways and means for the aboriginal and disadvantaged social groups to suitably adjust to the changing conditions in and outside the country, without jeopardizing their ways of life, was the challenging task for India. In this and many other tasks, An.S.I. proved its mettle to the appreciation of all. The Anthropological Survey of India's contribution for understanding the people of India by its coverage of the entire length and breadth of the country and its human surface, its publications and ethnographic films have been widely used and acknowledged all over the world.
The An.S.I. kept itself abreast of the new challenges facing the humanity and tuned itself to reap the benefits of the emerging technologies all over, for the benefit of human kind.