ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Articles By Romila Thapar

The University that Made a Difference

The assault on students and faculty of Jawaharlal Nehru University has raised a number of questions about politics on the campuses of universities. When students protest the massive hike in fees and other recently formulated regressive procedures of university functioning, it cannot be dismissed as student politics. It is as much a protest against a prime university being systematically dismantled. JNU is now being reduced to a teaching shop because supporting the advancement of knowledge that it pursued, is not on the agenda of those in authority, nor is it a characteristic of the ideology that is being sought to be imposed.

Targeting Institutions of Higher Education

The ideology central to the Bharatiya Janata Party-Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh has no space or use for liberal thought and values. Education for such organisations means only what can be called a kind of catechism. This is a memorisation of a narrow set of questions rooted in faith and belief and an equally narrow set of answers that prohibit any doubt or deviation. Therefore, educational centres that allow questioning and discussion are anathema and have to be dismantled.

Fallacies of Hindutva Historiography

Would the Hindutva historians, who claim that the Puranas, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata are true historical records needing no further interpretation, be able to tell us which of their versions are we to read? This response to Rajan Gurukkal's article, "A Blindness about India" (EPW, 6 December 2014), argues that not only is this an impossible claim to make on our ancient texts, such "historiography" will lead to the destruction of the social sciences in India.

Remembering Eric Hobsbawm

A historian who straddled the intellectual scene of 20th century social sciences, Eric Hobsbawm leaves behind a rich, layered and also contested legacy. A member of the path-breaking British Historians' Group of Marxist scholars, he stood apart both for the expansiveness of this academic output as well as his political positions. A survey of his varied contributions to academia and intellectual life presents a picture of a man, who, despite the realisation of the failure of socialism in the 20th century, kept alive the promise of the October Revolution.