Romila Thapar

Fellow at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford
Kluge Prize Winner

Professor Thapar is an Indian historian whose principal area of study is ancient India. Her keen interest in understanding how societies disintegrate or integrate and how relationships change over time, led her to history and historiography, and she went on a scholarship to School Of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), London.

Professor Thapar earned her doctorate under Prof A. L. Basham at SOAS in 1958. Her many books range from the earliest “Asoka and the Decline of the Mauryas” (1961) to the most recent “The Past before Us: Historical Traditions of Early North India” (2013). Professor Thapar has been a visiting professor at Cornell University, the University of Pennsylvania and the College de France in Paris.

She was elected General President of the Indian History Congress in 1983, as well as Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy in 1999. Professor Thapar is also an Honorary Fellow at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford and holds honorary doctorates from the University of Chicago, the Institut National des Langues et Civilisations Orientales in Paris, the University of Oxford and the University of Calcutta.

In 2004 the US Library of Congress appointed her as the first holder of the Kluge Chair in Countries and Cultures of the South. She was awarded the prestigious Kluge Prize (the American Nobel) in 2008.