Professor M. S. Rajan, doyen of international relations in India, institution builder and Professor Emeritus at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), passed away here on Wednesday. He was 89. Professor Rajan is survived by his wife, son and two daughters. According to family sources, the cremation will take place on Thursday.
Professor Rajan, who was the founding editor and on the editorial board of several journals, delivered lectures through the length and breadth of India as also outside at the universities of Harvard, Stanford, Oxford, Cambridge, Australian National, Moscow State and Patrice Lumumba.
Known as an institution builder, he was a “rare species” who groomed generations of scholars and also made considerable contribution to nonalignment and international organisations, recalled Professor Amitabh Matoo.
Professor Rajan’s scholarship is mirrored through 28 authored and edited books, hundreds of articles in journals, public lectures in India and abroad, and the honours received at several leading universities across the world. He continued to write even in his late years, coming regularly to his room in JNU.
Teacher and mentor
As a teacher and mentor, he played an exemplary role in inspiring several of his students who took to different walks of life — foreign service, academics and media.
Professor Rajan shifted to Delhi after receiving a postgraduate degree in history from Mysore University and assisted stalwarts like B.S. Rao and Hriday Nath Kunzru in building up the Indian Council of World Affairs. So committed an institutionalist was he that he abandoned his doctoral work at Columbia University without a second thought and joined the Sapru House project.
Professor Rajan joined the Indian School of International Studies when it was established and later became its Director. Historians of JNU remember him as the seniormost professor the university had in its early days.
At a condolence meeting, students and staff of JNU recalled his role in promoting international relations and area studies as a distinct field of advanced study in India right from the early years of Independence. They also remembered his contribution in “untiringly and uncompromisingly” building one institution after another. Among those who articulated their personal memoirs and experiences were Professors Yogesh K. Tyagi, G.S. Bhalla, C.P. Bhambhri, Pushpesh Pant, C.S.R. Murthy and P. Sahadevan.