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Prof. Hemchandra Raychauduri was the epitome of the spirit of the Bengal Renaissance which created several milestones in the fields of ancient literature, philosophy, history and science and subsequently led to the growth of Indological consciousness in all parts of India. Raychaudhuri was at the vanguard of this movement through his path breaking studies and teachings of Ancient Indian History.
His career in Calcutta University that began as a lecturer in Ancient Indian History and Culture in 1917, reached its acme when he was appointed the Carmichael Professor and Head of the Department of Ancient Indian History and Culture in 1937 when he succeeded Dr. D.R. Bhandarkar on the latter's retirement, and a position that he held till his own retirement in June 1952.

Prof. Hemchandra Raychaudhuri's scholarship was universally recognized, not only in India but internationally as well. His published works were characterized by originality, sound judgment and learning, and he never sacrificed critical caution to novel theories and his name was a guarantee for dependable work. In 1946, he was made a Fellow of the Asiatic Society of Bengal and later in 1951, was awarded the Society's B.C. Law gold medal for his contribution to the cause of Ancient Indian History and Culture. In 1941, he presided over a section of the Indian History Congress at Hyderabad and was elected General President of the Congress for its Nagpur Session in 1950.

Prof. Raychaudhuri was not a prolific author, and this was because he insisted on quality rather than quantity. He tirelessly served the Calcutta University till his very last days, though towards the end of his tenure he was quite ill. At one time he was the Head of various History and Indological departments of the University, that included his beloved Ancient Indian History and Culture, Sanskrit, Pali, General History and Islamic Studies. Internationally renowned Indologists like Dr. A.L. Basham, the author of the seminal "The Wonder that was India" and even Harold Macmillan, one time Prime Minister of England, whose printing house Macmillan and Co. were the publishers of one of his books, made it a point to visit Prof. Raychaudhuri at his South Calcutta residence when in India.

When he passed away in 1957, India had lost one of the brightest stars in its Ancient Indian History firmament.


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