Skip to main content

Top US history panel objects to JNU decision to 'review' Romila Thapar's status

By Our Representative
The prestigious American Historical Association (AHA) has taken strong exception to the Jahawarlal Nehru University (JNU) seeking Prof Romila Thapar’s curriculum vitae (CV) in order to “review” her status as professor emeritus. John R. McNeill, president, AHA, has written to JNU vice chancellor Mamidala Jagadesh Kumar and said it is meant to “discourage" the university's review of Romila Thapar's status as emeritus professor.
Calling Thapar’s recorded her “impressive record of contributions and achievements, including being named an AHA honorary foreign member” and expressing “deep concern” over JNU decision, the letter says, she is “a distinguished scholar, deeply respected by historians on many continents.” She adds, “Considering her extraordinary record of scholarly achievement, the Association believes that there is no need to review her richly deserved position as emeritus professor.”
Pointing out that AHA is “the largest association of professional historians in the world, with over 12,000 members”, McNeill said, “In 2009 the AHA named Professor Thapar an honorary foreign member – one of the highest honors the Association bestows – in recognition of her standing as one of India’s most distinguished historians.” The letter calls Thapar's work as “the bedrock of all scholarly study of the early South Asian past.”
A month ago, Thapar refused to submit her CV to the JNU administration, which wanted to “review” her position as professor emeritus. “No, I don’t intend to send them my CV. They have contradicted themselves in the letter they sent to me. When the status was originally conferred, it was stated that this was a lifetime honour”, she said in her reply.
On July 12, JNU registrar Pramod Kumar wrote to Thapar asking her to provide her latest CV by August 16 so that a committee appointed by the University’s Academic Council could “assess [her] work and decide on [her] continuation as professor emeritus.” A similar letter was sent to 11 other professors emeritus, all of them distinguished scholars in their respective fields.
Thapar, 87, has been awarded the Kluge Prize, known as the American Nobel, holds honorary doctorates from half a dozen of the world’s top universities, and is the author of a slew of books on ancient India which have been required reading for generations of students.

Comments

TRENDING

Bill Gates as funder, author, editor, adviser? Data imperialism: manipulating the metrics

By Dr Amitav Banerjee, MD*  When Mahatma Gandhi on invitation from Buckingham Palace was invited to have tea with King George V, he was asked, “Mr Gandhi, do you think you are properly dressed to meet the King?” Gandhi retorted, “Do not worry about my clothes. The King has enough clothes on for both of us.”

What's Bill Gates up to? Have 'irregularities' found in funding HPV vaccine trials faded?

By Colin Gonsalves*  After having read the 72nd report of the Department Related Parliamentary Standing Committee on alleged irregularities in the conduct of studies using HPV vaccines by PATH in India, it was startling to see Bill Gates bobbing his head up and down and smiling ingratiatingly on prime time television while the Prime Minister lectured him in Hindi on his plans for the country. 

Displaced from Bangladesh, Buddhist, Hindu groups without citizenship in Arunachal

By Sharma Lohit  Buddhist Chakma and Hindu Hajongs were settled in the 1960s in parts of Changlang and Papum Pare district of Arunachal Pradesh after they had fled Chittagong Hill Tracts of present Bangladesh following an ethnic clash and a dam disaster. Their original population was around 5,000, but at present, it is said to be close to one lakh.

Muted profit margins, moderate increase in costs and sales: IIM-A survey of 1000 cos

By Our Representative  The Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad’s (IIM-A's) latest Business Inflation Expectations Survey (BIES) has said that the cost perceptions data obtained from India’s business executives suggests that there is “mild increase in cost pressures”.

Anti-Rupala Rajputs 'have no support' of numerically strong Kshatriya communities

By Rajiv Shah  Personally, I have no love lost for Purshottam Rupala, though I have known him ever since I was posted as the Times of India representative in Gandhinagar in 1997, from where I was supposed to do political reporting. In news after he made the statement that 'maharajas' succumbed to foreign rulers, including the British, and even married off their daughters them, there have been large Rajput rallies against him for “insulting” the community.

Magnetic, stunning, Protima Bedi 'exposed' malice of sexual repression in society

By Harsh Thakor*  Protima Bedi was born to a baniya businessman and a Bengali mother as Protima Gupta in Delhi in 1949. Her father was a small-time trader, who was thrown out of his family for marrying a dark Bengali women. The theme of her early life was to rebel against traditional bondage. It was extraordinary how Protima underwent a metamorphosis from a conventional convent-educated girl into a freak. On October 12th was her 75th birthday; earlier this year, on August 18th it was her 25th death anniversary.

Govt putting India's professionals, skilled, unskilled labour 'at mercy of' big business

By Thomas Franco, Dinesh Abrol*  As it is impossible to refute the report of the International Labour Organisation, Chief Economic Advisor Anantha Nageswaran recently said that the government cannot solve all social, economic problems like unemployment and social security. He blamed the youth for not acquiring enough skills to get employment. Then can’t the people ask, ‘Why do we have a government? Is it not the government’s responsibility to provide adequate employment to its citizens?’

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

Youth as game changers in Lok Sabha polls? Young voter registration 'is so very low'

By Dr Mansee Bal Bhargava*  Young voters will be the game changers in 2024. Do they realise this? Does it matter to them? If it does, what they should/must vote for? India’s population of nearly 1.3 billion has about one-fifth 19.1% as youth. With 66% of its population (808 million) below the age of 35, India has the world's largest youth population. Among them, less than 40% of those who turned 18 or 19 have registered themselves for 2024 election. According to the Election Commission of India (ECI), just above 1.8 crore new voters (18-and 19-year-olds) are on the electoral rolls/registration out of the total projected 4.9 crore new voters in this age group.

IMA vs Ramdev: Why what's good or bad for goose should be good or bad for gander

By Dr Amitav Banerjee, MD* Baba Ramdev and his associate Balkrishna faced the wrath of the Supreme Court for their propaganda about their Ayurvedic products and belittling mainstream medicine. Baba Ramdev had to apologize in court. His apology was not accepted and he may face the contempt of court with harsher punishment. The Supreme Court acted on a public interest litigation (PIL) moved by the Indian Medical Association (IMA).