Marxist historian passes away

File picture of R.S.Sharma, who passed away in Patna on Saturday.

File picture of R.S.Sharma, who passed away in Patna on Saturday.  


He tirelessly fought against communalism of all hues

Eminent Marxist historian and Indologist Ram Sharan Sharma, known for his trenchant observations on institutions in ancient Indian society and his report on the Bihar-Bengal boundary dispute, passed away late Saturday night. He was 92.

The end came at a private nursing home here.

He was a tireless fighter against communalism of all hues.

A stalwart among the Delhi Group of Historians, the much feted Dr. Sharma graced the faculty at universities in Patna, New Delhi and Toronto, where he taught courses in Ancient and Early Medieval Indian history in an eventful career spanning more than four decades.

He was a senior fellow at the School of Oriental and African Studies, London University, where he completed his doctorate studies under the tutelage of A.L. Basham.

Born in a poor family in a village near the township of Barauni in Bihar's Begusarai district, Dr. Sharma commenced his vocation as a teacher at Ara's H.D. Jain College.

Book banned

He authored more than a hundred books and monographs, which have been translated in a dozen languages round the world. His 1977 book, ‘Ancient India' ran foul of the Morarji Desai-led Janata government, and it was banned the following year. The book courted controversy for Dr. Sharma's views on the historical role of Krishna in the Mahabharata.

Dr. Sharma headed a stellar cast of historians like Romila Thapar, Irfan Habib, Bipan Chandra and Aditya and Mridula Mukherjee, vociferously speaking out against the rampant “communalisation of Indian education,” especially over deletions made in NCERT history textbooks during the tenure of the Bharatiya Janata Party-led NDA government between 1999 and 2004.

Dr. Sharma was the founding Chairman of the Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR) in 1972 and he served as President of the Indian History Congress in 1975.

He was a recipient of the prestigious Jawaharlal Nehru Award in 1989 and was earlier awarded the Campbell Memorial Gold Medal by the Bombay Asiatic Society in 1987.

State funeral

Chief Minister Nitish Kumar expressed his condolences on the death of Dr. Sharma and announced a state funeral on Sunday. He is survived by his wife and son Gyan Prakash Sharma, a professor of History at the Jamia Millia Islamia University, New Delhi.

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Printable version | Jan 28, 2020 7:51:01 AM |

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