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Qanungo, Kalika Ranjan


Qanungo, Kalika Ranjan (1895-1972) a historian, was born in a zamindar family, at Kanungopara village under boalkhali upazila of chittagong district in July 1895. Kalika Ranjan lost his father, Rajamani Qanungo, at the age of five. He graduated with distinction in 1915 from rajshahi college. In 1917, he took his MA from Calcutta University and the law degree in 1918. He was later enrolled as a PhD student in the same university under jadunath sarkar and was awarded the degree for his dissertation on Sher Shah and His Times.

Kalika Ranjan started his professional career as a teacher of history in Ramjash College, Delhi. From 1923 to 1926 he was Assistant Professor in Lucknow University, in 1927 he was appointed Reader in History in the university of dhaka, where he was appointed Professor and Head of the Department in 1937 and held this post till 1948. Afterwards he joined Lucknow University from where he retired in 1955. In 1948 he was invited by calcutta university to deliver the RP Nopany Lectures.

Professor Qanungo's field of research covered the medieval history of India, various aspects of the Muslim rulers, the Rajputs and the Marathas. His knowledge of Persian, Urdu, Hindi, Oudhi and some other local dialects greatly helped him dig into local sources. His Sher Shah and His Times, an academic inquiry into the greatness of the great Afghan hero, is based on contemporary Persian sources. During his stay in Delhi's Ramjash College he developed an interest in the Jaths. He undertook strenuous fieldwork in the remote villages of Haryana and Rajsthan to collect unwritten and oral sources for his study. His two works, Studies in Rajput History and Rajasthan Kahini (1375 BS), contained many interesting revelations regarding different aspects of Rajput life. Qanungo played an important part in the compilation of Dhaka University's History of Bengal, Vol II, edited by JN Sarkar. During his tenure at the Lucknow University he wrote the History of the Baronial House of Delhi, based primarily on official documents preserved in local archives. Two of his major publications during retirement were Islam and its Impact on India (1968) and Shahjada Dara Shukoh (1986), the latter completed earlier at Dhaka. Besides these, he published numerous articles in distinguished journals and periodicals. He was a regular contributor to the prabasi. One of the most important characteristics of his writing of history is that he laid much importance on indigenous sources of information. Social synthesis between Hindus and Muslims was, according to him, the most important issue of medieval history of India. His researches aimed at achieving a better understanding of religious and racial groups. Collectively, his works offer a useful rationalistic reorganisation of medieval history of India.

The vangiya sahitya parishad awarded the 'Ramprangupta Memorial Gold Medal' to Qanungo in 1940 (1347 BS) for his contributions to historical research. He was also awarded the Rabindra Puraskar (Rabindra Award) for his book Rajasthan Kahini. Kalika Ranjan Qanungo died on 29 April 1972 at his residence in Lucknow. [Suniti Bhushan Qanungo]