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

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In Memory of Ravidner Kumar

Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie

Ravinder Kumar will be remembered for many things, some at the personal level by his friends, others at the institutional level by a much wider circle. Perhaps his biggest contribution will be, however, in having demonstrated that liberalism can create a space for itself in Indian institutional and academic life.

I had not met Prof Ravinder Kumar very often, but to me he was an epitome of intellectual elegance
How very sad – what a force for good he was, as a man and as a scholar.

These two written responses to the news of Ravinder Kumar’s death, received on the morning of Friday, April 6, provide some indication of the range of emotions this many-layered personality evidently gave rise to. At quite another level was the evidence provided by some features of the group who assembled for his funeral later in the day. There was an amazing diversity of people from the academic and political worlds present. Historians, of course, but also political scientists, sociologists, cultural theorists, economists, physicists, lawyers, quite apart from the Congress Party’s establishment. What manner of person was this who could unite the academic world with the Congress, even if for these brief and tragic moments? Not since the time of G Parthasarathi’s funeral in 1995 had a group as diverse, in its political orientation as in its academic or professional arena, been brought together in a united act of homage.

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