|Profession(s)||Historian, Professor, Author|
|Famous For||Authoring books about Indian history|
|Physical Stats & More|
|Height (approx.)||in centimeters- 161 cm
in meters- 1.61 m
in feet inches- 5’ 3”
|Date of Birth||30 November 1931 (Monday)|
|Age (as in 2018)||87 Years|
|Birthplace||Lucknow, United Provinces, British India|
|Hometown||Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India|
|School||• St. Mary’s School, Pune
• Wadia College, Pune
Note: She attended schools in various cities in India.
|College/University||• Miranda House, University of Delhi
• Panjab University, Chandigarh
• School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London
|Educational Qualification(s)||• BA in English Literature from Panjab University
• A second bachelor's honours degree and a doctorate in Indian History under A. L. Basham from the School of Oriental and African Studies, the University of London in 1958
|Major Works/Books||• Aśoka and the Decline of the Mauryas
• Ancient Indian Social History: Some Interpretations
• Recent Perspectives of Early Indian History
• A History of India: Volume One
• Early India: From the Origins to AD 1300
|Awards, Honours||• General President of the Indian History Congress in 1983
• A Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy in 1999
• Jawaharlal Nehru Fellowship in 1976
• Co-winner with Peter Brown of the Kluge Prize (a US$1 million prize) for the Study of Humanity for 2008
• A Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2009
• Keynote Address at the 14th World Sanskrit Conference at Kyoto in 2009
• An Honorary Fellow of St Antony's College, Oxford, in 2017
• A Member of the American Philosophical Society in 2019
• She is an Honorary Fellow at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford, and at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London
Honorary Fellowships and Doctorate
• Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from the University of Chicago in 1993
• Honorary D.Litt. from the Peradeniya University in 1992
• Honorary Doctorate in Social Science from Edinburgh University in 2004
• Honorary D.Litt. from the University of Oxford in 1997
• Honorary D.Litt. from the University of Calcutta in 1997
• Honorary Doctorate from Brown University (USA) in 2010
|Political Inclination||CPI(M) rediff.com|
|Address||23 B Road, Maharani Bagh, New Delhi 110065|
|Controversies||• In 2003, an online petition bearing more than 2,000 signatures took place to oppose her appointment to the Library of Congress's Kluge Chair. The opposition was based on the grounds that she was a "Marxist and anti-Hindu" and that it was a "waste of US money" to support a leftist.
• She was also criticized for refusing to accept the Padma Bhushan by the Government of India twice; first in 1992 and second in 2005.
• In September 2019, she refused to submit her curriculum vitae to the administration of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), which said it was “reviewing” her position as Professor Emerita. Instead, she had written a letter explaining what her status meant.
|Relationships & More|
|Marital Status||Not Known|
|Parents||Father- Daya Ram Thapar (army doctor)
|Siblings||Brother- Romesh Thapar (elder; Journalist)
Sister- Bimla Thapar (elder)
|Cousin||Karan Thapar (Journalist)
|Favourite Historian(s)||Eric Hobsbawm, A. L. Basham|
|Favourite Subject(s)||Botany, Ancient History|
|Favourite Leader||Mahatma Gandhi|
|Favourite Sports||Horse Riding, Swimming|
|Net Worth||Not Known|
Some Lesser Known Facts About Romila Thapar
- Does Romila Thapar smoke?: Not Known
- Does Romila Thapar drink alcohol?: Yes
- Romila Thapar is one of the most celebrated Indian historians.
- Miss Thapar is the Professor Emerita at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in New Delhi.
- Romila was born into a Punjabi Family to Daya Ram Thapar who had served as the Director General of the Indian Armed Forces Medical Services.
- Her paternal grandfather was a school teacher who was also employed to do summaries of the vernacular press for the British administration.
- Her maternal grandfather, who practised law, insisted that each of his five daughters must be a graduate, Romila’s mother being one of them.
- Romila was born en route when her mother, Kaushalya was travelling from Rangoon to Lahore. It was a chance stopover made by her mother at her sister’s home in Lucknow, which saw the birth of Romila Thapar in Lucknow.
- Soon after birth, the child Romila proceeded with her mother to live at the Thal Fort in the North-West Frontier Province; where her father had been transferred from Lahore.
- Romila spent her childhood at six different places, as her father, being an army officer, was frequently transferred.
- While her two elder siblings, a brother and a sister, grew up in boarding schools, Romila stayed with her parents.
- In her childhood, she loved to enjoy horse riding and swimming.
- During her schooling at St Mary’s School in Pune, Romila, along with her friends, would attend prayer meetings of Mahatma Gandhi in the evening at Dr Mehta’s Nature Cure Clinic, near Wadia College in Pune. Recalling those days, Romila says that on one occasion she paid the mandatory, Rs. 5, a princely amount in those days, to ask for Gandhiji’s autograph. As she was leaving, the father of the nation, held the sleeve of her kurta and said-
Yeh, resham hai?” he asked and she replied, “Jee haan!” “Resham kabhi nahi paheno. Khadi pehena karo!”
- Reportedly, it was her father who had instilled in her the affection for the study of the past. When her father visited a museum in Madras (now, Chennai), he was so impressed with the Chola bronze icons there that on his return, he brought back with him many books on this subject. It is the reading and discussion about this subject between father and daughter, which introduced Romila to the study of history.
- After studying at Delhi’s Miranda House and Chandigarh’s Panjab University, she went to London for further study. Talking about her decision to study in London, Romila says that she chose to study over dowry when her father said-
I have the money, which I have kept aside for you, but it is only enough for either a dowry or a degree from London University, so you must choose.”
- The lifestyle in London completely changed the perspective of Romila to see society. It opened the flood gates of her mind. The intellectual buzz in London was like the wings of fire that took her to a destination.
- After graduating from London University in 1955, her tutor, A.L Basham, who is well-known for his book, “The Wonder that was India,” urged Romila to apply for a London university scholarship to do a PhD. A hesitant Romila finally did apply.
- In an interview, Romila Thapar revealed that closest to her heart, even to this day, after so many books and papers, which she has published is her PhD thesis, Ashoka and the Decline of the Mauryas.
- Despite many offers to remain in England, Romila decided to return to India where she took up a Readership at Kurukshetra University. Later, she joined Delhi University at the same post.
- After a seven-year stint of Readership at Delhi University, she moved to spend the next twenty years at JNU (Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi).
- Romila Thapar is often criticized by a faction of society for being a Marxist and anti-Hindu. In 2016, joining the chorus of protest in the JNU row, Romila Thapar and some other historians and writers, condemned the slapping of a sedition case against the then JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar.
- Despite being honoured with many titles and awards, she has refused to accept the Padma Bhushan twice; first in 1992 and second in 2005; citing the reason that these awards are not really state awards but government awards, and therefore she preferred to stay away from them.
- In September 2019, she hit the headlines when Jawaharlal Nehru University asked her to submit her CV to the university-appointed committee. Reportedly, the university was in the process of reviewing the position of all its emeritus professors who were above the age of 75 years and at least five such professors, including renowned historian Romila Thapar and sociologist T.K. Oommen, had received letters from JNU’s registrar asking them to submit their curriculum vitae to a university-appointed committee, which would review their position, despite the fact that these were originally lifetime appointments.
- Miss Thapar lives in a quiet locality in Delhi.
- She is a bibliophile and can often be spotted buying books at the nearby booksellers.
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