Tapan Raychaudhuri: The Historian with a Difference

Suchibrata Sen adds

Tapan Raychaudhury passed away at the age of 88. Quite a ripe age. His thoughts, however, would remain forever a source of inspiration for the scholars of history and literature of the present as well as the future. His work of history has always a literary flavour. It is very difficult to categorize him in a specific branch of history. His 'Bengal Under Akbar and Jahangir' (1953, Reprint 1969) is a new genre of social history judging from the standard of the time. Again when Tapan Raychaudhury edited along with Dharma Kumar and Irfan Habib, "Cambridge Economic History of India" (986), his scholastic approach to economic history received a wide recognition. 'Europe Reconsidered' came out in 1980. It is completely a different type of intellectual history concentrating on Bhudeb Mukhopadhay and Vivekananda. He even covered the emotional history in his 'Perceptions, Emotions and Sensibilities' (1999). Even in his eighties Tapan Raychaudhury's quest for history did not end, unfortunately, however, he could not complete it.

Leaving aside the scholastic historical work his two autobiographical works stand as a unique combination of history and literature. The refined sense of humour has been blended with an unparalleled observation of the rural life of Barisal. Here in lay his secular approach to history as well to the present society. He never resisted himself from criticizing the communal trend. Those, who have heard him, must appreciate his oratory. Death is natural, but the country lost a great soul who has always unhesitatingly stood for humanism. India, at this critical juncture of history, needed a man like Tapan Raychaudhury.

Vol. 47, No. 25, Dec 28, 2014 -Jan 3, 2015