Noted historian Bipan Chandra died today at his residence here after prolonged illness. He was 86.

“He had not been keeping well since last few months. He passed away at 6 a.m.,” his family said.

A Padma Bhushan awardee, Prof. 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) and the Chairman of the National Book Trust (NBT).

Considered to be a specialist in economic and political history of India, Prof. 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.

Born in 1928 in Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh, Prof. Chandra studied at the Forman Christian College, Lahore, Stanford University, US and the University of Delhi.

He worked as the Reader at Hindu College of Delhi University and then became the professor of History at Jawaharlal Nehru University.

Prof. Chandra’s text books on History have been taught in schools and colleges in the country for a long time.

Prof. Chandra served as sectional President and then the general president of the Indian History Congress in 1985, was also awarded ‘Itihas Ratna’ on his 86th birthday in December that year, by the Asiatic Society of Bihar.

A number of leaders and scholars expressed grief over the demise of the veteran historian.

“The cremation will take place at 3 p.m. at the Lodhi Road electric crematorium,” family said.

Lamenting his death, Congress leader Digvijay Singh tweeted, “My condolences to the Family of Historian Bipan Chandra. One of the most eminent Historian of India. May his soul rest in peace“.

Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Nabam Tuki also wrote on Twitter, “Bipan Chandra an Indian historian passes away. May his soul Rest in Peace.”

“Sad to hear about the passing away of noted historian Prof Bipan Chandra. May his soul rest in peace,” said Congress leader Naveen Jindal, in his tweet.

Sad to hear about the passing away of noted historian Prof Bipan Chandra. May his soul rest in peace.

— Naveen Jindal (@MPNaveenJindal) August 30, 2014
Chiki Sarkar, publisher at Penguin Books also mourned his death and said his books have been read by generations of readers.

“Sad to hear of Bipan chandra’s death — he was one of @PenguinIndia most respected and successful authors whose books on Indian history have been read by generations of readers. We mourn his passing,”Ms. Sarkar tweeted.

Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi on Saturday condoled the death of noted historian Bipan Chandra, hailing him an “erudite chronicler” of modern Indian history and the nation’s struggle for independence.

“Congress President Sonia Gandhi has expressed deep grief and sadness at the passing away of Professor Bipan Chandra.

Describing him as erudite chronicler of modern Indian history and the Nation’s struggle for independence, Ms. 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.

Extending her heart-felt condolences to the family members and friends of Prof. Chandra, Ms.Gandhi said that he had played a pioneering role as a teacher, scholar and researcher and mentored many a future historians and will be deeply missed.

In his condolence message, Rahul Gandhi said that he was saddened to hear of the passing away of Professor Bipan Chandra.

He said that the books of the eminent historian and scholar of modern India introduced many generations of students to the Indian national movement and the freedom struggle. “My prayers are with the family and loved ones,” he said in a message.