Historian Hari Sankar Vasudevan, who had tested positive for coronavirus, died at a private hospital in Kolkata early Sunday. He was 68.
Vasudevan tested positive two days after being admitted to AMRI Hospital in Salt Lake on May 4. Soon after, he was put on a ventilator after developing respiratory distress. The state government is, however, yet to identify whether he died of Covid-19 or due to comorbid conditions. Vasudevan was an expert on European and Russian history and the India-Russia relationship. A graduate of Cambridge University, where he also completed his post-graduation and PhD, Vasudevan was the director of the China Centre at Calcutta University.
Earlier, he served as director of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad Institute of Asian Studies, Kolkata, of the Ministry of Culture. Between 2003 and 2005, Vasudevan was a professor at Central Asian Studies and acting director at the Academy of Third World Studies, Jamia Millia Islamia, Delhi. Between 2011 and 2014, he was member the Indian Council of Historical Research.
Vasudevan is survived by his wife, historian Tapati Guha Thakurta, and daughter Mrinalini Vasudevan.
Mrinalini told The Indian Express, “My father had tested positive for coronavirus and his condition was critical since Friday. He was on a ventilator. We learnt from the hospital that he died of multi-organ failure. His body is at AMRI, and the cremation will be as per protocol for Covid-related deaths.”
After the historian tested positive, his family members were asked to go into home isolation.
“Only one of my father’s friends will be allowed to see the body. The cremation will be at Dhapa,” Mrinalini added.
Expressing his condolences, West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar said in a statement, “A multifaceted person, he made his mark while being involved in a formal consultative capacity with projects/institutions of the Ministry of Culture, MHRD, the Ministry of Commerce and the Ministry of External Affairs of the GoI… His contributions to society will be ever recalled. May his soul rest in peace.”
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