About the Talk
Nationalism is a historically specific concept that arises at a particular point in the modern history of many societies. It is not to be found in ancient times. It relates to the change in the identities of a society from those that existed in earlier times to a new identity born of historical change. The earlier identities were determined by links to a community determined by religious, caste-based or linguistic connections. These gradually give way to recognising the new identity of the citizen incorporating the rights and duties of the citizen viz-a-vis the state. This calls for a re-orientation of what is required from the state. This change is closely linked to secularism and to a democratic polity.
About the Speaker
Dr Romila Thapar is Professor Emeritus at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. Born in 1931 at Lucknow, after graduating from Punjab University, Dr Thapar earned her Ph.D. from School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London in 1958. In her vast body of work are included books on Aśoka and the Decline of the Mauryas, Ancient Indian Social History: Some Interpretations, The Aryan: Recasting Constructs, The Past before Us: Historical Traditions of Early North India, The Past As Present: Forging Contemporary Identities Through History and a recent book based on a long interview with her Talking History. While she accepts awards and Fellowships from academic institutions/ peers, Dr Thapar is known to have refused awards from the Government in 1992 and 2005.