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|Born||30 October 1932
|Died||16 July 2013 (aged 80)
Calcutta, West Bengal
Barun De (30 October 1932 – 16 July 2013) was an Indian historian. He served as founder-director of the Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta and the Maulana Abul Kalam Azad Institute of Asian Studies, Kolkata and as the honorary state editor for the West Bengal District Gazetteers. He was chairman of the West Bengal Heritage Commission.
Early life and education
De was born into an illustrious Brahmo family. His father, Basanta Kumar De, was a high ranking official of the Bengal Nagpur Railways. His grandfather was Brajendranath De, ICS. He studied at St. Xavier's Collegiate School, Calcutta. He completed his higher studies at Presidency College, Calcutta, where he was a student of Professor Susobhan Chandra Sarkar and later at St. Catherine's Society, Oxford and Nuffield College, Oxford, where he completed a D.Phil. thesis.
De held various positions at various times, including a senior professorship at the Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta, the founder-directorship of the Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta and the Maulana Abul Kalam Azad Institute of Asian Studies, a membership of the Indian Council of Historical Research, New Delhi, and the role of honorary state editor of the West Bengal District Gazetteers. He taught abroad at Duke University and elsewhere, and held a senior fellowship of the Indian Institute of Advanced Studies, Shimla.
Among his roles after retirement in 2004 were membership of the controversial NCERT textbook review committee. He was a vice president of the Asiatic Society of Bengal. He was chairman of the West Bengal State Archives, Calcutta. He became a member of the Board of Trustees of the Indian Museum, Calcutta, and a member of the Heritage Conservation Committee of the Kolkata Municipal Corporation, in which capacity he was among several people who prepared a list of heritage buildings of West Bengal. The Times of India described him as "a pioneer of the heritage movement of West Bengal", and he was honorary chairman of the West Bengal Heritage Commission. He was also a Tagore National Fellow at the Victoria Memorial Hall, Calcutta.
De's research spanned from early- to late-modern periods of Indian history. In the earlier part of his career he wrote on Henry Dundas and the conquest of India, while later on he addressed the Marxist critique of the colonial context of the Bengal renaissance. He was also concerned with the national movement: his popular textbook book, Freedom Struggle, co-authored with Bipan Chandra and Amalesh Tripathi, was censored by the new Central government that came to power in India in 1977. It has been translated into Bengali by Brajadulal Chattopadhyaya.
The Maulana Abul Kalam Azad Institute of Asian Studies, Calcutta has instituted a Barun De Memorial Lecture.
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- Barun De Memorial Lecture Retrieved 2015-02-27.
- "Secularism at Bay: Uzbekistan at the Turn of the Century" - Barun De Retrieved 2015-02-17
- "Peasant Labour and Colonial Capital: Rural Bengal since 1770" - Sugata Bose 2015-02-19.
- "Freedom Struggle" - Bipan Chandra, Amalesh Tripathi and Barun De Retrieved 2015-02-18.