People's Democracy(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
May 11, 2003
Now In USA…
ON ROMILA THAPAR
spirit of tolerance and press freedom was being discussed recently in Delhi
reports appeared that a well orchestrated hate campaign in the USA is being
whipped by the Hintutva lobby against well known Indian Historian Romila Thapar.
However, historians and noted scholars of Indian history in the USA and abroad came out in her defence and supported
her prestigious appointment to the first Kluge Chair in Countries and Culture of
the South Asian Division Library of
is what the Director, Scholarly Programmes in the Library of the Congress
Professor Gifford said “In brief, our response is that we are most pleased to have an
Indian historian of Professor Thapar’s distinction with us at the Library of
Congress. Her many books already in
the collections of the Library of Congress testify that her work is sympathetic
to the ancient Indian and Hindu historical and cultural traditions in
highlighting their variegated and undogmatic quality, and in making clear the
complexity of Indian civilisation.”
since her appointment and joining there, there is a planned saffron brigade
attack on her egged on by supporting NRIs. Ironically it coincides with a
campaign in India spearheaded by
HRD minister Murali
Manohar Joshi against historians who opposed the saffronisation of
attacks on Professor Romila Thapar are by persons who call themselves the
friends of India. They assert that her appointment represents a Marxist assault
on Hindu Civilisation. She, some of them charge is a well-known Marxist, with a
Euro-centric view. Incidentally this chair was established in 2000 to bring
together the best thinkers. The centre houses five chairs only.
Thapar has held many visiting posts in Europe, the United States and Japan.
She is an Honorary Fellow at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford, and at the
School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. She has honorary
doctorates from the University of Chicago, the Institute National des Langues et
Civilisation Orientales in Paris, the University of Oxford and the University of
Calcuttta. The author of many seminal works on the history of ancient India, her
volume of A History of India (Penguin)
has been continuously in print since 1966.
Her latest publication is Early
India - From the Origins to AD 1300. Other
recent works are History and Beyond
and Cultural Pasts: Essays in Early Indian
History. She has had brief stints at the Delhi University and Jawahar Lal
Nehru University, besides her numerous books, and her well known discourses on
Communalism and Writings on Indian History.
see this as an attempt to send her packing, while others opine that this is a
small beginning for targeting liberals and leftists. In India, Romila Thapar is
considered a liberal with a scientific outlook.