statesman news service
Kolkata, 17 July
Noted historian Barun De died in a private nursing home in south Kolkata today. He was 81.
A graduate from Presidency College and a favourite student of Susobhan Sarkar De, he went to St Catherine’s College, Oxford and Nuffield College, Oxford. There he became a member of the Socialist Club and later was elected treasurer, secretary and president of Oxford India Majlis.
De took a leading role in identifying heritage buildings in Kolkata and their preservation. He was the chairman of the West Bengal Heritage Commission and a member of Heritage Building Conservation Committee and Road renaming committee of KMC. From 1979 to 1983 he was the editor of the West Bengal district gazetteers.
His area of research was modern India and had specialised in social and economic history of India during the 17th and 18th centuries and the Bengal renaissance. He was the author of Secularism at Bay: Uzbekistan at the Turn of the Century, an autobiographical work. De taught in Burdwan and Calcutta universities and also at the Indian Institute of Management, Joka. He was a senior fellow of Indian Institute for Advanced Studies, Shimla.