Tapan Raychaudhuri, a distinguished historian of modern India’s economic and social history, died on 26 November 2014 at his home in Oxford, England. He was 88.
Raychaudhuri died of a series of strokes. He was bedridden for a year before his death. He is survived by his wife Pratima Raychaudhuri and daughter Sukanya Wignaraja.
From 1973 to 1993, Professor Raychaudhuri was Reader in Modern South Asian History at St. Antony’s College, Oxford. During his tenure at Antony’s College, he was given an Ad Hominem Chair as Professor of Indian History and Civilisation. He retired from Oxford in 1993.
• He was an Indian historian specialising in British Indian history, Indian economic history and the History of Bengal
• Post retirement, he remained as an Emeritus Fellow until his death
• Raychaudhuri was born on 8 May 1926 in Barisal (pre-Independent India) on the northern shore of the Bay of Bengal, at present in southern Bangladesh
• He earned his D. Phil at the age of 25 from Calcutta University
• He worked on his second D. Phil from 1953 to 1957 at Balliol College, Oxford and at the archives of the Dutch East India Company at the Hague, Netherlands
• Some of his publications include
a) Bengal Under Akbar and Jahangir
b) Jan Company in Coromandel
c) Europe Reconsidered: Perceptions of the West in Nineteenth Century Bengal
d) The Cambridge Economic History of India (co-edited with Irfan Habib)
After his retirement, he wrote two memoirs titled Bangal Nama in Bengali and The World in Our Time in English (2012). Raychaudhuri in the book The World in Our Time has narrated social life in a zamindari estate in east Bengal, and described his uneasy time at the Delhi School of Economics and inherent racism in Britain, among other key events in his life.
Awards and Honours
• Watumull Prize awarded by the American Historical Association, 1982 (jointly with Irfan Habib) for the Cambridge Economic History of India
• Doctor of Letters 1993, University of Oxford
• Doctor of Letters honoris causa by the University of Calcutta
• Doctor of Letters honoris causa by the University of Burdwan
• Padma Bhushan in 2007 in recognition to his contributions to history
• National Research Professor 2010