David R Syiemlieh

Union Public Service Commission, New Delhi

David R. Syiemlieh, formally a historian, joined as a Professor in the Department of History, NEHU, Shillong, in 1979. Concurrent with this position, he held at different times, Dean of Students’ Welfare, Proctor, Director, College Development Council, and Head, Department of History, Controller of Examinations, officiated as Registrar and also was Pro-Vice-Chancellor, NEHU. He was appointed Vice-Chancellor of the RGU, Itanagar, Arunachal Pradesh, in 2011. During his tenure at RGU, Syiemlieh took several path-breaking initiatives in the field of administrative, academic and examination reforms. Awarded an M. Phil. in 1980, he continued research and was conferred with the PhD in 1985. He has received a number of prestigious academic fellowships including a Senior Fulbright Fellowship to Notre Dame University, USA; a Charles Wallace Grant for research in the UK and an Indo-France Cultural Exchange grant for research in Paris. He has authored several books including On the Edge of Empire: Four British Plans for North East India, and Layers of History: Essays on the Khasi-Jaintias. Syiemlieh was President of the North East India History Association, 2010-2011, an association specialising in the history of North East India. Former Honorary Director of the ICSSR-NERC, Shillong, he was Council Member for two terms of ICHR, New Delhi. He was also Council Member of the ICSSR, New Delhi. Syiemlieh was elected as President of the Modern India Section, Indian History Congress. He joined as Member, UPSC, in 2012 and in January, this year, he was appointed as Chairman, UPSC.

David R Syiemlieh

Session 1E: Public lecture

Chairperson: Ram Ramaswamy, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi

Percival Spear: Historian and Indophile View Presentation

Indian history has, over the years, drawn the attention of discerning readers for a variety of reasons: its span in time, its geographical coverage, its people and institutions, the polities large and small, and in more recent times, Indian nationalism. Among the many fine historians who have contributed to the understanding of India’s past, that of Percival Spear was enormous. As a teacher, he impacted many of his students and scholars. His readers have appreciated his presentation of the histories in a style that was his own. His coverage of Indian history spanned many centuries, up to more recent times. Histories he wrote were broad, seminal, fitting into a distinctive school of historiography and were fine works in literature. In more recent times, his studies have almost been set aside for more pointed and detailed research. Every age has its historians. Such are the histories Percival Spear worked on, that they require attention and appreciation for this great admirer of India, its people and its past.

© 2017 Indian Academy of Sciences, Bengaluru.