I am happy that The Hindu has given prominent coverage to Eric J. Hobsbawm. As his student, I would like to share my feelings with readers. I got in touch with Professor Hobsbawm in 1965 in London when I was assisting Blair B. Kling, Professor of History at Illinois University, in his study on Dwarakanath Tagore, the illustrious grandfather of Rabindranath Tagore, and gathering material for my thesis, “Indian labour emigration to British overseas colonies,” through Nikhil Chakravarty, a veteran journalist and friend of Prof. Hobsbawm.

I was admitted in his Seminar at Birbeck College and got a few chances to interact with him. I incorporated Prof. Hobsbawm’s observations to enrich my thesis. When it was published in 1970, he contributed a valuable foreword to it. I had the privilege of meeting him thrice in London. I dedicated my book “1857 Revolt: British Response” to him in 2008. He was not dogmatic in his approach but remained a Marxist till his last days. Like Marx, he believed that it was not time to interpret but to change the world for the better.

Panchanan Saha, Kolkata

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