Sunday, Apr 21, 2002
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By Our Special Correspondent
Dr. Gopal, who had been suffering from nephritis in the last few years, was admitted to the Apollo hospitals here on April 13, following a "stroke."
The son of the former President, Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, Dr. Gopal was born on April 23, 1923 in Chennai. After post-graduation in history, he completed Law and took a D.Phil. He joined the Andhra University as a lecturer and reader in History in 1948 and served there till 1952 and, thereafter, took up the position of Assistant Director, National Archives Affairs, Government of India, for two years till 1954.
He taught South Asian history at the Oxford University between 1966 and 1971 and returned to the Jawaharlal Nehru University where he served till retirement. He retired in May 1983 as Professor of Contemporary History and then worked on a biographical study of his father, ``seeking to place his life and achievements in the context of his times.''
Dr. Gopal was conferred the D.Litt (honoris causa) by the Andhra University in 1975, the Tirupati University in 1979 and the Benaras Hindu University in 1984. Dr. Gopal also served as Chairman of the National Book Trust (1973-76) and was unanimously elected president of the Indian History Congress, in its Bhubaneswar meet in 1978. In 1976, he was elected to the 45-member UNESCO executive board.
Later, he succeeded Malcolm S.Adiseshiah as chairman of the governing council of the Madras Institute of Development Studies, in 1995 for a three-year term. He had also served as chairman of the governing body of the Indian Institute of Advanced Studies, Shimla.
Dr. Gopal has commented extensively on the freedom struggle and placed the role of its leaders in perspective.
``At a time when correct interpretation of history is being subjected to controversy, the traditions set by the historians of the stature of Dr. Gopal need to be evoked for scientific understanding of our history so that future generations remain free from prejudice and passion,'' Mr. Narayanan said in a condolence message.
In recognition of Dr. Gopal's talent and professionalism and his adherence to objectivity, the Government had appointed him the historical adviser and he discharged those responsibilities with great competence and distinction, he said.
In the passing away of Dr. Gopal, the country had lost a renowned and admirable historian whose path-breaking research on modern Indian history would be long remembered, the President said. PTI
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