Romila Thapar Quotes
“Some have argued that as language is the medium of knowledge, that which comes in the form of language constitutes a text; since language is interpreted by the individual, the reading by the individual gives meaning to the text; therefore each time a text is read by a different individual it acquires a fresh meaning. Taken to its logical conclusion, this denies any generally accepted meaning of a text and is implicitly a denial of attempts at historical representation or claims to relative objectivity, since the meaning would change with each reading. However, the prevalent views are more subtle.”
“Intensely devotional poetry was written by poets, some of whom were born Muslim but worshipped Hindu deities. One of the best known among them was Sayyad Ibrahim, popularly referred to as Raskhan, whose dohas and bhajans dedicated to the deity Krishna were widely recited in the sixteenth century and are still remembered by devotees of Krishna and others.”
“It is said that the Hindus must have been upset at seeing Turkish and Mongol soldiers in their heavy boots trampling the floors of the temples. The question is, which Hindus? For, the same temple if it was now entered by mleccha soldiers was open only to upper-caste Hindus and its sanctum was in any case barred to the majority of the population who were regarded as the indigenous mleccha. The trauma was therefore more in the notion of the temple being polluted rather than the confrontation of one religion with another.”
“The second trial for sedition was in 1908 before Justice D. D. Davar, who had been his counsel in the first trial, and a jury of which seven Europeans returned a verdict of guilty while the two Indians, both Parsis, returned a verdict of not guilty. Justice Davar sentenced Tilak to six years’ transportation. At his third and last trial for sedition in 1916, he was successfully defended by Muhammad Ali Jinnah. Tilak had been ordered to execute a bond for Rs 20,000 ‘for good behaviour’ for ‘disseminating seditious matter’. Justices Batchelor and Shah quashed the order.”
“One could well ask if there is some subconscious link in the patriarchal mind between the agni-pariksha, fire-ordeal of Sita; the encouraging of women to become satis, the practice of entering the fire jointly in a jauhar when a Rajput raja was defeated in a campaign; and the frequency of dowry deaths in recent times.”
- Date of birth: November 30, 1931
- Born: in Lucknow, India.
- Description: Romila Thapar is an Indian historian and Professor Emeritus at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. A graduate from Panjab University, Dr. Thapar completed her PhD in the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London.Her historical work portrays the origins of Hinduism as an evolving interplay between social forces. Her recent work on Somnath examines the evolution of the historiographies about the legendary Gujarat temple.Thapar has been a visiting professor at Cornell University, the University of Pennsylvania, and the College de France in Paris. She was elected General President of the Indian History Congress in 1983 and a Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy in 1999.