New Delhi: Prominent historian Bipan Chandra passed away in his sleep, family members said.
He was 86. Chandra was considered to be one of foremost scholars on India independence movement and was an authority on Mahatma Gandhi.
Family sources said that he died around 6 am on Saturday morning at his home in Gurgaon. He had not been keeping well over the last few months. The cremation will take place later in the day in New Delhi.
Chandra, who was a life-long communist, had many of his books prescribed as a standard history text in Indian schools. The former professor of History, was born in 1928 in the Kangra Valley of Himachal Pradesh. He studied at the Forman Christian College, Lahore and then at Stanford University, United States. He did his PhD thesis from University of Delhi.
Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi expressed deep condolences hailing him an "erudite chronicler" of modern Indian history and the nation's struggle for independence. Sonia Gandhi said that "his books left a lasting imprint on the minds of millions of students in their formative years," the party said in a statement.
A Padma Bhushan awardee, Chandra had donned multiple roles including that of Chairperson of the Centre for Historical Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Member of the University Grants Commission (UGC) in 1993 and the Chairman of the National Book Trust.
Considered to be a specialist in economic and political history of India, Chandra had authored several books including The Rise and Growth of Economic Nationalism, In the Name of Democracy: The JP Movement and the Emergency, Nationalism and Colonialism in Modern India and The Making of Modern India: From Marx to Gandhi, among others.
The left leaning author had founded the journal 'Enquiry' and was a member of its editorial board for a long time.