Bipan Chandra

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Bipan Chandra
Born (1928-05-27)27 May 1928
Kangra, Punjab, British India
Died 30 August 2014(2014-08-30) (aged 86)
Gurgaon, Haryana, India
Citizenship Indian
Alma mater
Awards Padma Bhushan (2010), Royal Asiatic Society of Bihar plaque

Bipan Chandra (27 May 1928 – 30 August 2014)[1] was an Indian historian, specialising in economic and political history of modern India. Professor of modern history at Jawaharlal Nehru University, he specialized on the Indian independence movement and is considered a leading scholar on Mahatma Gandhi. He authored several books, including The Rise and Growth of Economic Nationalism.[2]

Jawaharlal Nehru University has organised a commemorative event on his birth anniversary.[3][4]

Early Life and education[edit]

Chandra was born in Kangra in Punjab, British India (now in Himachal Pradesh). He was educated at Forman Christian College, Lahore, Stanford University, United States and the University of Delhi, where he completed his Ph.D. under the supervision of Professor Bishweshwar Prasad.[5]


He taught for many years as Lecturer and then as Reader at Hindu College, Delhi.[6] He became Professor of History at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, soon after the university was founded. He founded the journal Enquiry and was a member of its editorial board for a long time.[5]

He was a Sectional President and then the General President of the Indian History Congress in 1985.[7] He was Chairperson of the Centre for Historical Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.[8] He became a Member of the University Grants Commission in 1993.[6] He was the Chairman of the National Book Trust, New Delhi from 2004 to 2012.[9] As Chairman of National Book Trust, India, he brought in a new vigour, and started many new series such as Popular Social Science, Autobiography, Afro-Asian Countries series, Indian Diaspora Studies etc.[10]

He was at the forefront of the communist struggle in India since independence.[11] His book, Freedom Struggle, co-authored with and Amalesh Tripathi and Barun De, was censored by the new Indian government that came to power at the centre in 1977.[12] He collaborated with historians like Nurul Hasan, R.S. Sharma, S. Gopal, Satish Chandra, Romila Thapar, Irfan Habib, Barun De and Arjun Dev, whose text books were prescribed in Indian schools for a long time.[citation needed]

However, for his works like "India after Independence" and "India's struggle for Independence", he was accused of being a pro-Congress historian.[13][14] As an evidence to this bias, it has been pointed out that while "India after Independence" talks about the state role in the 2002 Gujarat carnage, it completely ignores the central government's role in the 1984 massacre of Sikhs.[15]

He was appointed as National Research Professor in 2007,[5] and awarded the Padma Bhushan, India's third highest civilian honour, given by Government of India in 2010.[16]


Chandra died on the morning of 30 August 2014, at his home in Gurgaon, after prolonged illness, aged 86.[17][18]


  • The Making of Modern India: From Marx to Gandhi, Orient Blackswan, 2012
  • History of Modern India, Orient Blackswan, 2009
  • Communalism: A Primer, (New Delhi, 2008)
  • In the Name of Democracy: The JP Movement and the Emergency, (New Delhi, 2003)
  • Essays on Colonialism, (New Delhi, 1999)
  • India Since Independence, (jointly with Mridula Mukherjee and Aditya Mukherjee), (New Delhi, 1999)[19]
  • Ideology and Politics in Modern India, (New Delhi, 1994)
  • Essays on Indian Nationalism, (New Delhi, 1993)
  • Essays on Contemporary India, (New Delhi, 1993)
  • The Epic Struggle, (New Delhi, 1992)
  • India's Struggle for Independence, 1857-1947, (New Delhi, 1989)
  • Indian National Movement: The Long Term Dynamics, (New Delhi, 1988)
  • Communalism in Modern India, (New Delhi, 1984)
  • The Indian Left: Critical Appraisal, (New Delhi, 1983)
  • Nationalism and Colonialism in Modern India, (New Delhi, 1979)
  • Freedom Struggle, (jointly with Amalesh Tripathi and Barun De), (New Delhi, 1972))
  • The Rise and Growth of Economic Nationalism in India: Economic Policies of Indian National Leadership, 1880-1905, (New Delhi, 1966)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Ravi Bhushan (1992). Reference India: biographical notes on men & women of achievement of today & tomorrow. Rifacimento International. p. 139. 
  2. ^ "Bipan Chandra, The Rise and Growth of Economic Nationalism" Retrieved 2015-03-24.
  3. ^ "JNU to organize Jashn-e-Azadi on historian Bipan Chandras birth anniversary". Retrieved 2016-03-28. 
  4. ^ "Idea of Bharat Mata is European import: Irfan Habib". The Hindu. 2016-03-29. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 2016-04-10. 
  5. ^ a b c "Bipan Chandra and Andre Beteille Appointed as National Research Professors". Press Information Bureau, Government of India. January 2, 2007. Retrieved February 27, 2014.
  6. ^ a b "Renowned Indian Historian Dr. Bipan Chandra Passes Away - Kitaab" Retrieved 2015-03-25.
  7. ^ "Historian Bipan Chandra dies at the age of 86". The Times of India. Aug 30, 2014. Retrieved 2014-08-31. 
  8. ^ "Centre for Historical Studies, JNU". Jawaharlal Nehru University. Retrieved February 14, 2014.
  9. ^ "Bipan Chandra appointed NBT chairman". The Hindu. July 8, 2004. Retrieved February 14, 2014.
  10. ^ Patnaik, Prabhat. Bipan Chandra: Historian of Courage, Frontline, 3 October 2014.
  11. ^ T.K.Rajalakshmi, Targeting History, in Frontline, Vol. 18, Issue 09, April 28-May 11, 2001
  12. ^ "Censorship of Historical Thought: A World Guide" - Antoon de Baets Retrieved 2015-03-25.
  13. ^ D.R. Chaudhry (2002-04-28). "Critiques galore!". The Tribune (Chandigarh). Retrieved 2009-03-06. 
  14. ^ `Call me Bipan, not prof', The Telegraph, 31 August 2014.
  15. ^ Manoj Mitta (2016-04-06). "Not Just Kanhaiya, Even JNU Historians Ruled Out State Complicity in 1984 Violence". The Wire. 
  16. ^ "Padma Awards Directory (1954–2013)" (PDF). Ministry of Home Affairs. 14 August 2013. p. 153. 
  17. ^ "Historian Bipan Chandra Dies At The Age of 86". NDTV. 30 August 2014. 
  18. ^ "Historian Bipan Chandra is dead". 30 August 2014. Retrieved 30 August 2014. 
  19. ^ Mukherjee, Bipan Chandra, Mridula Mukherjee, Aditya (2008). India since independence (Rev. ed.). New Delhi: Penguin Books. p. 771. ISBN 9780143104094.