And she expressed in the words of Wordsworth, ‘Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive. But to be young was very heaven!’
Historian, a true Gandhian, and a writer, Aparna Basu, Chairperson of National Gandhi Museum, New Delhi, passes away at the age of 87.
Aparna Basu, a Doctorate in History from University of Cambridge, has worked in many roles—as Professor of History in University of Delhi, member of the Advisory Board of the Indian Journal of Gender Studies, patron of All-India Women’s Conference, and more, as well as contributed immensely to the field of social sciences.
Unique in approach
‘She always did the most unusual things as a historian,’ says Mihir Bhatt, Founder and Director of All India Disaster Mitigation Institute, who has worked with her. Her book on the Sarabhai family is a unique and important contribution in the area of family history in India.
Opened new doors in history
Of the opinion that the pen gives a woman agency and writing about herself is emancipatory, Dr Basu used hers optimally to discuss the history of women and women’s education in India, and has given them their deserved honour as equal contributors in the country’s freedom struggle and consequent development.
Focused and active
As a historian, she was always active and focused on doing things and finishing them even at the age of 87. She put together a unique exhibition on the 1918 Ahmedabad Mill Workers’ Strike at IIC, Delhi, in May 2018, marking the centenary of the strike.
Sensitive and insightful
As a child, she got to witness the Transfer of Power Ceremony on the midnight of 14 August 1947 with her father G.L. Mehta, a member of the Constituent Assembly, and she expressed in the words of Wordsworth, ‘Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive. But to be young was very heaven!’
Dr Basu’s last published work, Gandhi’s Vision: Freedom and Beyond, is a testament of the lived experiences of an author and historian who came from a family rooted partly in India’s industrial history and partly in Gandhian history.
Although she is with us no more, like her literary works, she will remain evergreen in the world of history and historians.
The launch of the book is scheduled on 1 February 2019 with Lord Bhikhu Parekh and Ashis Nandy, dedicating the launch to late Aparna Basu. Also joining us would be Dr Annamalai, Director of National Gandhi Museum, to pay homage to the author.