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

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R K Hebsur (1935–2022)

R K Hebsur has contributed immensely to strengthen the philosophical and methodological foundations of social science research in India. Despite spending considerable time teaching as a college lecturer, he made an imprint in the fi eld of research methodology. Hebsur worked hard to synthesise different disciplinary perspectives to explain a social phenomenon in its entirety. As a head of the Department of Research Methodology at Tata Institute of Social Sciences, he established a multidisciplinary research tradition. Though he had a short stint in the university system, the generations to come will remember and admire his life and work.

The author thanks the anonymous reviewers for their useful comments on the earlier version of this article. He would also like to thank D P Singh (School of Research Methodology, Tata Institute of Social Sciences [TISS]) and Mahendra Singh (Senior Section Offi cer at TISS) for their meaningful discussion that helped immensely in writing this article.

Raghvendra Keshava Rao Hebsur (1935–2022) who made remarkable contributions to the pedagogy and practice of social science research, passed away on 18 August 2022, creating a void in the interdisciplinary and associated with research traditions in the country. Hebsur’s engagement with the diverse research issues—caste and reservation, backward class movements, riots, migration, social work intervention, and research methodology—to a certain extent contributed to creating his “pluralist” image beyond the original identity of a political scientist. His approach was multidisciplinary and hence academicians from different streams would identify with him as their fellow colleague in the discipline. His command over sociological theories, philosophical foundations of social research, the praxis of social work, and the approaches of his own discipline—political science—have made him a popular teacher among the students of the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) and those in the neighbouring universities in Mumbai.

Hebsur was born on 28 May 1935 in Dharwad, which was then a part of the Bombay Presidency. He graduated from Karnatak University in 1955, and did his MA in Political Science from Bombay University in 1961. After yet another post-graduation in Political Science at the American University of Beirut, in 1969, he pursued his doctoral research there on the topic of “Social Mobilization, Political Development and Civil Violence in the Indian States,” and was awarded the PhD in 1975. As it has been a case with the research work, his career trajectory was also quite a distinct one. He was one of the few academicians, who started their career with humble beginning as a lecturer in the city colleges and later joined a university. He worked as a lecturer of political science in Kirti and SIES Colleges in Mumbai. He joined the TISS much later in 1978 where he worked in different capacities—as a reader, professor, head of the Department of Research Methodology, and as its first deputy director before retiring in 1997. He had a short stint (19 years) in a university set-up, but had a long-lasting impact on social science research, policy formulation and of course, on generations of students. His passion for teaching and research was well admired by colleagues and students alike. He continued teaching and associated with different universities even after retirement.

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Updated On : 30th Jan, 2023
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