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

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Dharma Kumar

Sanjay Subrahmanyam has paid fulsome tribute to my research supervisor, Dharma Kumar (November 10). I worked with Dharma Kumar on ‘The Genesis of Indian Planning, 1938-51’ and found her to be a very helpful supervisor, always brimming with ideas. I was also her student during my MA from the Delhi School of Economics where this very quality of being full of ideas meant that she was not always very focused or systematic as a lecturer. Her best quality, however, was her fearlessness. When Delhi was held to ransom by rampaging anti-Sikh mobs in the wake of Indira Gandhi’s assassination on October 31, 1984, Dharma Kumar raised her voice against the pogrom.

At a memorial meeting held for her at the Delhi School of Economics on October 30, 2001, Mrinal Dutta-Chaudhuri (economics), Andre Beteille (sociology), Majid Siddiqui (history) and Om Prakash (economic history) remembered a Dharma Kumar who remained beautiful to the end of her days at the age of 73, was meticulous in her editing of Indian Economic and Social History Review and was kindness personified, even if tempestuous by temperament, especially when ill for two years at the end. May her soul rest in peace. She was truly cosmopolitan and eclectic.

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