D. N. Jha

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Dwijendra Narayan Jha
Jha dn.jpg
Prof. Jha in November 2012
Born c. 1940[1]
Nationality Indian
Occupation Historian
Known for Authoring books about Indian history

Dwijendra Narayan Jha is an Indian historian, specialising in ancient and medieval India. He was Professor of History at Delhi University, and member of the Indian Council of Historical Research.


Jha completed his B.A. (Hons.) in History at Presidency College of the University of Calcutta and then his M.A. in History at Patna University where he was a student of Professor R.S. Sharma.[citation needed]


Jha has repeatedly taken a position against Hindu nationalist ideology, arguing against what he claims is "communalism" and "saffronisation", specially during the 1998 to 2004 Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government of the Republic of India.[2]


Works by D N Jha:

  • 1980, Studies in early Indian economic history, Anupama Publications, ASIN: B0006E16DA.
  • 1993, Economy and Society in Early India: Issues and Paradigms, ISBN 81-215-0552-6.
  • Society and Ideology in India: ed. Essays in Honour of Professor R.S. Sharma (Munshiram Manoharlal, Delhi, 1996)
  • 1997, Society and Ideology in India, ISBN 81-215-0639-5.
  • 1997, Ancient India: In Historical Outline, ISBN 81-7304-285-3.
  • 2002, Holy Cow: Beef in Indian Dietary Traditions; paperback (2004) ISBN 1-85984-424-3
  • 2004, Early India: A Concise History, ISBN 81-7304-587-9
  • 2009, Myth of the Holy Cow, ISBN 81-8905-916-5

As editor:

  • 1988, Feudal Social Formation in Early India, ISBN 81-7001-024-1
  • "Society and Ideology in India: Essays in Honour of Professor R.S. Sharma" (Munshiram Manoharlal, Delhi, 1996).
  • 2000, The Feudal Order: State, Society, and Ideology in Early Medieval India, ISBN 81-7304-473-2; a collection of critical essays by 20 specialists on medieval Indian society, politics, ideology and religion.


The Myth of the Holy Cow[edit]

Jha has received death threats over his book The Myth of the Holy Cow in which he outlines the practice of eating beef in ancient India as documented in Vedic and Post-Vedic texts. Since Hindus consider the cow holy, his book caused much controversy.[1][3][4]

Californian textbook case[edit]

He has also spoken out against the changes in the context of the Californian Hindu textbook case.

Dispute with Arun Shourie[edit]

Jha was accused by Arun Shourie of deliberate distortion of the facts behind the destruction of Nalanda University by Islamic invaders in 12th Century AD. Shourie accused Jha of selective lifting of sources, of obfuscation and intellectual compromise.[5] In a signed article in the Indian Express, Jha stated that Shourie was distorting what he had said, Shourie's allegations of plagiarism are baseless, and said it is "interesting" that the first edition of Shourie's book Eminent Historians was published in 1998 during the NDA rule, and the second edition—after 16 years—when the BJP has assumed power. Jha has stated that Shourie's book Eminent Historians contains "slander" and "has nothing to do with history."[6][7][8]


  1. ^ a b Reddy, Sheela (Sep 17, 2001). "A Brahmin's Cow Tales". Outlook. Retrieved 18 October 2014. 
  2. ^ Jha, D. N. (September 1998). "Against Communalising History". Social Scientist. 26 (9/10): 52–62. doi:10.2307/3517941. JSTOR 3517941. (subscription required (help)). 
  3. ^ The Guardian (13 July 2002)
  4. ^ The Hindu (15 August 2003)
  5. ^ "How history was made up at Nalanda". The Indian Express. 28 June 2014. 
  6. ^ "Grist to the reactionary mill". Indian Express. 9 July 2014. Retrieved 9 July 2015. 
  7. ^ "How History Was Unmade At Nalanda! D N Jha". Kafila. 9 July 2014. Retrieved 9 July 2015. 
  8. ^ "Votes do not guide intellectuals: D N Jha". Business Standard. 9 November 2014. Retrieved 9 July 2015. 

External links[edit]