Bipan Chandra Indian historian

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Bipan Chandra
Bipan Chander. Chandigarh. 1979.jpg
Born(1928-05-24)24 May 1928
Died30 August 2014(2014-08-30) (aged 86)
Alma mater
India's Struggle for Independence
AwardsPadma Bhushan (2010),[1] Royal Asiatic Society of Bihar plaque

Bipan Chandra (27 May 1928 – 30 August 2014)[2] was an Indian historian, specialising in economic and political history of modern India. An emeritus 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.[3]

Early life and education

Chandra was born in Kangra in Punjab, British India (now in Himachal Pradesh). As used to be the case in old Punjab, his early education was in Urdu, he was best at home in his early years with an Urdu novel by his side. He graduated from Forman Christian College, Lahore in 1946 after which the Partition forced him to leave. Thereafter he went to the United States where he studied at the Stanford University, California, United States, to complete his graduation and post-graduation. He then went to do his graduation and post graduation at Stanford University, California (1948–49). He established contact with Communists there, and, caught in the net cast under Senator McCarthy’s anti-Communist crusade, he was deported to India. Back in Delhi in the early 1950s, Bipan Chandra was appointed lecturer in History at the Hindu College, Delhi.[4] Later he completed his Ph.D. from Delhi University in 1963.


Chandra taught for many years as lecturer and then as reader at Hindu College, Delhi.[5] He became professor of History at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, soon after the university was founded and after retirement was appointed as an emeritus professor there. He founded the journal Enquiry and was a member of its editorial board for a long time.[4]

Chandra was a sectional president and then the general president of the Indian History Congress in 1985.[6] He was chairperson of the Centre for Historical Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.[7] He became a member of the University Grants Commission in 1993.[5] He was the chairman of the National Book Trust, New Delhi from 2004 to 2012.[8] As Chairman of National Book Trust, India, he started many new series such as Popular Social Science, Autobiography, Afro-Asian Countries series, Indian Diaspora Studies etc.[9]

In his retirement years he was appointed as a national research professor in 2007.[4]


Chandra was at the forefront of the communist movement in India since independence.[10] His co-authored book, Freedom Struggle, was censored by the new central government that came to power in India in 1977.[11] He collaborated with historians such Nurul Hasan, Ram Sharan Sharma, Sarvapalli Gopal, Satish Chandra, Romila Thapar, Irfan Habib, Barun De and Arjun Dev and some of his students, such as Mridula Mukherjee, Aditya Mukherjee, Sucheta Mahajan and Vishalakshi Menon, some of whose textbooks have previously been prescribed in the history syllabi of schools in India.[12][13]


In April 2016, right-wing activist Dinanath Batra sought a ban on Chandra's bestselling India's Struggle for Independence because of a misunderstanding of the terminology used in it.[14][15]


Chandra died on 30 August 2014, at his home in Gurgaon, after prolonged illness, aged 86.[16][17] JNU organised a commemorative event on his birth anniversary.[18][19]


  • The Making of Modern India: From Marx to Gandhi, Orient Blackswan, 2000
  • History of Modern India, Orient Blackswan, 1990
  • 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)[20]
  • 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)


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