Historian Hari Vasudevan, who had tested positive for the coronavirus, has died of the infection around 1 am on Saturday, reported Anandabazar Patrika. He was 68 years old.
Vasudevan reportedly developed fever earlier this month and was admitted to a private hospital in Kolkata on May 4. He tested positive for the virus two days later. Following this, the historian developed respiratory troubles and was put on ventilator. Doctors told Anandabazar Patrika that Vasudevan had other chronic ailments.
The historian, who had a doctoral degree from Cambridge University, was an expert on European and Russian history and politics. He was also affiliated with several institutions, including Calcutta University, Delhi’s Jamia Millia Islamia and King’s College in London, among others.
Vasudevan was associated with many government panels on education and history. He had served as chairman of the textbook development committee for the social sciences of the National Council Of Educational Research And Training from 2005, according to The Wire.
He had criticised the Congress-led central government for removing satirical cartoons from one of the books during his time as chairman of the textbook development committee. Vasudevan had in June 2018 written an opinion piece in The Indian Express, raising concerns on the modification of content in textbooks under the Narendra Modi-led administration.
He was the director of the Maulana Abul Kalam Azad Institute of Asian Studies, an autonomous organisation under the culture ministry, till 2013. The historian was a Visiting Distinguished Fellow at the Observer Research Foundation and served as the chief of the Institute of Development Studies, Kolkata.
West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar expressed his condolences in a statement. “A multifaceted person, he made his mark while being involved in a formal consultative capacity with projects/institutions of the Ministry of Culture, MHRD, the Ministry of Commerce and the Ministry of External Affairs of the Government of India and was Chairman of the Textbook Development Committee for the Social Sciences of the NCERT from 2005. His contributions to society will be ever recalled. May his soul rest in peace,” it said.
(Corrections and clarifications: The story has been edited after Vasudevan’s wife denied reports of chronic ailments. Scroll.in could not independently verify the doctor’s claims.)