5 DECEMBER 2006, TIMES OF INDIA, PATNA.
The brutal murder of Patna University Professor and eminent historian Papiya Ghosh has shocked academicians all over the country.
“It is an irreparable loss. Her dastardly murder in the capital is reprehensible”.
Thus was the unanimous view of JNU academicians who gathered in New Delhi on Monday to condole the brutal killing of the Patna-based historian.
The Faculty of Centre For Historical Studies (CHS), School of Social Sciences, JNU, New Delhi, in a meeting on Monday to mourn Papiya, recalled her love for Bihar where she chose to work.
Her association with the CHS, JNU, as a visiting Scholar earlier this year was also recalled. CHS Chairperson Aditya Mukherjee, will send a formal letter of condolence to her family.
Many JNU Faculty Members, including Monidipa Banerjee (Philosophy Department), Sucheta Mahajan and Vijaya Ramaswamy (both History Department) attended the Condolence Meet on JNU campus.
Papiya’s colleagues at Indian Institute of Advance Study (IIAS), Shimla, where she was a Fellow from 1993-96, also expressed their shock and anger. A Condolence Meeting is being planned by the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library at Teen Murti Bhavan in New Delhi.
Another noted modern Indian historian, Mridula Mukherjee, Director of the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, told TOI on phone: “We are still under complete shock over the ghastly murder of Papiya. I still cannot believe she is dead,” Mukherjee said in a choked voice.
“We had recently invited her to JNU as a Visiting Fellow. She was also associated with the Nehru Museum and Library during the 90s. She was an outstanding historian and a wonderful human being,” Mukherjee said, adding she was among few persons who had no negative traits.
Academicians in Delhi will soon sit together and decide their future course of action. Peaceful protest march, signature campaign and candle light vigil would be held, she added.
Sucheta Mahajan, a close associate of Papiya, told TOI on phone from New Delhi that Papiya’s first book, part of a trilogy on the 20th century Bihar, will be published very soon by Routledge. It is in press. She has highlighted the predicament of the Bihari Muslims displaced during the Partition of the country. She was also working on Bhojpuri culture, Mahajan said.
Papiya had a brilliant mind. She was among a handful of historians of modern and contemporary India who combined deep knowledge of their subject with commitment to the milieu. Mahajan, who teaches modern Indian history at JNU, said: “At a personal level, she was a treasured friend and was very generous.”