Indian History writer Nayanjot Lahiri has won the prestigious 2016 John F. Richards Prize for her book ‘Ashoka in Ancient India’. The John F. Richards Prize recognizes the most distinguished work of scholarship or book on South Asian history published in English. The Richards Prize is awarded annually by the American Historical Association (AHA) to honour the best book in South Asian history. The American Historical Association is a nonprofit membership organization instituted to promote historical studies.

Her book ‘Ashoka in Ancient India’ has been critically acclaimed for its riveting account of an emperor Ashoka. The book deftly adjudicates between archaeological, textual, and geographical evidences to offer a dazzling interpretation of the remarkable historical figure of Ashoka and the ancient world. “Reversing all conventions of kingship, the Emperor Ashoka recorded his greatest military triumph as tragedy, proclaiming an order of non-violence,” commented the prize committee.

Prof. Nayanjot Lahiri is an eminent historian and archaeologist of ancient India and a professor of history at the Ashoka University, in Haryana. Her research interests mostly include Indian archaeology, heritage studies, archeological theory and ancient India. Some of her noticeable contributions include Finding Forgotten Cities: How the Indus Civilization Was Discovered, The Decline and Fall of the Indus Civilization, The Archaeology of Indian Trade Routes (up to c. 200 B.C.), etc.

The prestigious prize will be bestowed upon her at the American Historical Association (AHA’s) 131st Annual Meeting to be held in Denver, Colorado in January 5-8, 2017.  Earlier, for her work in archaeology, she was also bestowed with the 2013 Infosys Prize in the humanities.


by Ashwani Srivastava

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