11 January 2020

SANJAY SUBRAHMANYAM WINS ONE MORE INTERNATIONAL PRIZE

SANJAY SUBRAHMANYAM 

NEWS JUST IN (January 2020) . . .

Admirers of Sanjay Subrahmanyam's many magnificent "connected histories" will be happy to learn that they -- having long lost count of the number of European languages he reads and lectures in, and having lost count also of the number of monographs he has written on Portuguese and Mughal history, maritime history, economic history, cultural history, and travellers' accounts, and God knows what else -- can now also start losing count of the number of international history prizes he has won. As we already know, Subrahmanyam is the only Asian to be made Professor, International Chair in Early Modern Global History at the Collège de France. This happened in 2013. We also recall that he won the Infosys Prize the year before that.

We have now received news that this former enfant terrible of Indian and European history (we can certify that he is, for many years now, entirely sober, mature, and dignified, in line with his stature) has been awarded the Prix International d'Histoire (International Prize of History) by the International Committee of Historical Sciences (ICHS). 

The committee will give Subrahmanyam the award at a ceremony in Poznań, Poland, in August 2020, at the XXIII Congress of the ICHS, which is held every five years. The citation speaks of his "contributions to the progress of historical research and to the dialogue between cultures, opening many new perspectives and training generations of scholars." The prize, like the Prix Goncourt, is not monetised (what a pity), but we believe Subrahmanyam will get a very fancy medal and a very fancy watch! 

More to the point, this prize is open to a historian of any country, of any time period, and any theme!

Sanjay Subrahmanyam (black beard) with Simon Digby (white beard)
It used to be said of the great pianist Vladimir Horowitz and the great violinst Jascha Heifetz that their individual achievements were not only head and shoulders above those of every other past and present pianist and violinist, but that they were likely to remain head and shoulders above those of every future pianist and violinist too. Even if we take such grandiose declarations with a pinch of salt and discount the element of wanton exaggeration in them, there is little doubt that Subrahmanyam's accomplishment as a historian is, quite simply, staggering.

Permanent Black is privileged to have published several of Sanjay Subrahmanyam's books, including most recently IS INDIAN CIVILIZATION A MYTH?, and EMPIRES BETWEEN ISLAM AND CHRISTIANITY 1500-1800, and (co-authored with Muzaffar Alam) WRITING THE MUGHAL WORLD.

It may interest readers to know that Sanjay Subrahmanyam's brother S. Jaishankar is India's foreign minister in the BJP government, and that his father K. Subrahmanyam was the foremost advocate of India's atom bomb; and that Subrahmanyam, whose histories have shown the cross-fertilisation of cultures and civilisations and the porousness of political boundaries, has been consistently a staunch defender of secular values . . . So, a variety of opinions and possibly differing positions, all within the same family -- and thus a most potent and heartening example of the coexistence of difference that India is now rapidly in danger of losing.


No comments: