Upinder's book launch in Kolkata

Dear All,

A History of Ancient and Early Medieval India by Upinder Singh was successfully launched at Rabindranath Tagore centre ICCR Kolkata on 26 August 08.

The event had Dr B D Chattopadhyaya, Professor Bharati Ray, and Professor Hari Vasudevan as speakers. Reba Som, director of the Rabindranath Tagore Centre, welcomed the panelists and the guests. The book was released by the governor of West Bengal—Mr Gopal Krishna Gandhi. The governor lavishly praised Upinder’s efforts, her use of archaeological evidence and how they contribute to the seriousness of a book that is otherwise attractively designed.

Professor Hari Vasudevan, chaired a panel discussion. He spoke on the challenges of history teaching and his experience as a teacher. Bharati Ray praised Upinder’s patience and labour. She also spoke of the role of women in ancient India and how Upinder had focused on that.

Professor B D Chattopadhyaya dealt with the book in detail and raised critical questions on issues it had dealt with, especially on issues of nomenclature and terminology.

Upinder thanked the panel and recounted her experience of writing the book, its genesis and how it took its final shape. She emphasized that even as scholarship was an issue, she wanted to ‘get on with the story’—telling the whole story of ancient India was more important than engaging in debates on historiography. Her responsibility towards her students, a passionately felt responsibility, propelled her narrative of ancient Indian history.

Journalists like Rudrangshu Mukherjee, actor—Barun Chanda, academicians like Tapati Guha Thakurata, Sugata Bose, Vice-Chancellor of Vishwa Bharati University Shanti Niketan University—Rajat Kanto Ray, historian Suparna Gooptu, teachers of history and archaeology from the University of Calcutta and Jadavpur University, curators and librarians from the Indian Museum and the Asiatic Society attended the programme. Representatives from the trade were also there. Mr Dipak Dasgupta, of IBD, Aurobindo Dasgupta from Dasgupta and Sons, Sanjeeb Bose from Bharti Bhawan, and Ms Maina Bhagat from the Oxford Bookstore, Kolkata were there.

The event was covered by Kolkata TV (they telecast Upinder’s hour long interview live and repeated it twice), Star Ananda, Tara TV, 24 Ghanta and ETV Bangla. Anandabazaar Patrika interviewed Upinder and also published a preview of the event in its edit page on 25 August. The Telegraph, The Statesman and The Hindustan Times covered the event. Upinder was also interviewed by The Telegraph and The Hindustan Times.

Attached are the photographs of book launch.


Babita Chauhan


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