It is yet another feather in a historian’s cap. Professor Jayanta Kumar Ray has been appointed as National Research Professor, indeed the first Kolkata-based scholar in the field of humanities / social sciences / history to be selected after a long time. Late Professor Sumiti Kumar Chatterjee was the last Kolkata-based recipient. Late Professor Tapan Roy Choudhury (based in Oxford), Professor Andre Beteille (based in Delhi) as also the late Dr. Bina Majumdar (based in Delhi) are West Bengal’s recent recipients of this unique award, whose number does not exceed 10- 12 at any point of time. There are few scholars in the vast field of public and international affairs, in India or abroad, who can match the depth and variety of Jayanta Kumar Ray’s multi-country and transdisciplinary research publications.
The Government of India had instituted the National Research Professorship in 1949 to honour distinguished academics and scholars in recognition of their contribution to knowledge. Persons of real eminence, who have attained the age of 65 years and who have made outstanding contribution in their respective fields and are still capable of productive research, are considered for appointment as National Research Professors. The appointment is made initially for a period of 5 years which is extendable by another term of 5 years. Thereafter, a National Research Professor is entitled to life pension.