Satish Chan­dra, veteran his­to­rian, dies at 95

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - TIMES NATION - Avi­jit.Ghosh@ times­group.com

New Delhi: His­to­rian Satish Chan­dra, who brought a rad­i­cally fresh per­spec­tive in un­der­stand­ing the causes of the Mughal Em­pire’s down­fall, and whose text­book on me­dieval In­dia was al­most com­pul­sory read­ing for stu­dents as well as civil ser­vice as­pi­rants, passed away on Fri­day. He was 95.

“He had been hos­pi­talised a few weeks ago,” posted JNU his­to­rian R Ma­ha­lak­shmi on Face­book. The news was con­firmed by his­to­ri­ans Ir­fan Habib and Mridula Mukher­jee. “He was on dial­y­sis for over a decade. Yet he re­mained wed­ded to work,” said Mukher­jee, a for­mer stu­dent and col­league at JNU.

Along with S Gopal, Bi­pan Chan­dra and Romila Tha­par, Satish Chan­dra was one of the stal­warts of JNU’s Cen­tre of His­tor­i­cal Stud­ies.

His most im­por­tant works in­clude the sem­i­nal, ‘Par­ties and Pol­i­tics at the Mughal Court, 1707-1740’. But it was his NCERT text­book ‘ Me­dieval In­dia’, which earned him in­stant re­call na­tion­wide.

Chan­dra was also a man with courage of con­vic­tion. He was the UGC chair­man dur­ing the Emer­gency when the gov­ern­ment came up with the idea that teach­ers should have “a code” — a po­ten­tially re­stric­tive mea­sure.

“Prof Chan­dra then is­sued a cir­cu­lar that teach­ers’ rights should also be in­cluded,” said Habib, adding that “he pro­tected the Cen­tral uni­ver­si­ties from un­due gov­ern­ment in­ter­ven­tion.”

The class was held at DAV Cen­te­nary Pub­lic School, Jaipur, which was at­tended by 15,000 stu­dents. This mo­d­ule was con­ducted across In­dia over 693 DAV schools. Af­ter Jaipur, Sat­yarthi reached Chandi­garh on Oc­to­ber12 as part of this 35-day ‘Bharat Ya­tra’, to cre­ate aware­ness and seek so­lu­tions to com­bat the men­ace of child sex­ual abuse and traf­fick­ing.

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