Questioning Paradigms, Constructing Histories: A Festschrift for Romila Thapar

by Kumkum Roy and Naina Dayal

Category: History, Non-Fiction

During the course of a long and distinguished career, historian and public intellectual, Romila Thapar has produced a unique body of work. Her original and path-breaking commentaries and essays on ancient Indian history, along with her incisive writings on culture, society, archaeology, philosophy, classical literature and education have inspired a growing number of historians, scholars, public intellectuals and ordinary people alike. In this Festschrift, Romila Thapar’s students and colleagues from across the world celebrate her contributions by applying her methods and insights to a range of historical, philosophical, sociological and cultural questions. Questioning Paradigms, Constructing Histories aims to bring Romila Thapar and her pioneering work to the attention of a wider audience.

According to Romila Thapar: ‘…an enquiry should begin with a question… The question may be something quite simple, the answer to which will further qualify what you are saying. Or it may be a question that gives you the possibility of looking at the event or the person in history from different points of view. And that one question then leads to other questions that reflect these different points of view. So I would say that the fundamental approach to any piece of research or what one is working on grows out of a question.’

The book is divided into five parts—‘Political Processes’, ‘The Symbolic and the Social’,
‘Historical Consciousness and Reconstructions’, ‘Looking Beyond India’, ‘The Past and the
Present: Dialogues and Debates’. Each part focuses on a theme that Romila Thapar has
worked on and topics that she has returned to time and again. Together, they showcase her exceptional achievements as one among the best historians of our time.

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