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Datta, Kalikinkar


Datta, Kalikinkar (1905-1982) historian and an academic administrator. Born in a Bengali Kayastha family in Jhikarhaty village under the Pakur subdivision of the Santal Parganas in South Bihar (present jharkhand), he was the son of Sadananda Datta, the headmaster of the Pakur Raj School. Kalikinkar Datta passed his Entrance Examination in 1921 from Pakur Raj School.

Kalikinkar graduated from Berhampore Krishnanath College (Mursidabad district) in 1925 with a First Class Honours and got himself admitted in the post graduate class in History in calcutta university. Incidentally, during his stay in Berhampore, he came in contact with Kalidas Nag, a reputed historian of the time, who instilled in him interest in historical studies. In 1927 he passed the MA Examination obtaining a First Class and began research work at Patna College. In 1929, he was awarded the premchand roychand studentship for his researches in the social and economic history of 18th century Bengal. In 1936 his Studies in the History of the Bengal Subah, 1740-70 (Volume- I) was published. In 1939, Kalikinkar obtained his Ph D from the University of Calcutta for his thesis entitled Alivardi Khan and His Times.

Kalikinkar served Patna College as Lecturer in History from 1930 to 1944. In 1944, he was appointed Professor of History at the same college and occupied the position till 1958. Between 1958 and 1960, he served Patna College as the Principal. During these years he organised the KP Jayaswal Research Institute located at Patna. He served as the Director of Bihar State Archives from May 1960 to February 1962. Subsequently he served the Magadh University from March 1962 to March 1965 and the Patna University from 1965 to 1971 as Vice Chancellor. In spite of his busy schedule, both as a professional historian and as an academic administrator, KK Datta was deeply involved with the activities of the Bangiya Sahitya Samiti as well as the Graduates' Association.

KK Datta wrote nearly thirty books and contributed large number of articles to academic journals and periodicals. His major works include Alivardi and His Times, The Santal Insurrection, Shah Alam II and The East India Company and The History of Freedom Movement in Bihar. But perhaps he is still best known as a co-author of the Advanced History of India (in collaboration with ramesh chandra majumdar and hemchandra raychaudhuri).

KK Datta was also closely connected with the Regional Records Survey Committee of Bihar and the Bihar Research Society in various capacities. Closely associated with the Indian History Congress, he served the organisation as its Sectional President in 1943 and was elected its General President in 1958. He also served as the Director of the Indo-British Historical Society of Madras. In 1968 Datta was awarded the Jadunath Gold Medal for his contributions as a historian. Shortly before his death the University of Burdwan conferred on him D Litt. (Honoris Causa) in 1982.

KK Datta belonged to the old group of historians, who relied on a lucid style and in a correct presentation of historical data. His command over historical sources was unique and he relied more on concrete evidences rather than abstract theorisation. He passed away on 24 March 1982 at Patna. [Raj Sekhar Basu]